DHS finalizes end to Trump-era rule for immigrants;  rule prevents changes in immigration law for low-income immigrants, explains Darius Amiri, Rose Law Group Immigration Department Chair

During the Trump administration, immigrants who used non-cash public benefits —such as housing vouchers, food assistance, or Medicaid — could be deemed a public charge and denied residence or citizenship status. Photo: || Getty Images


The Biden administration finalized a new public charge rule on Thursday that would eliminate Trump-era policies that penalized low-income immigrants seeking health benefits and other services.

The new rule from the Department of Homeland Security will roll back the types of assistance immigration officers can consider when evaluating immigrants for a green card and deciding whether they’ll become a “public charge,” or dependent on government assistance.

Public charge determinations would be limited to government cash assistance and long-term institutionalization financed by the government, under the new rule. However, the new rule also notes that an applicant’s use of long-term institutional care or cash assistance will not automatically result in a determination that the applicant is likely to become a public charge.


“Federal officials made it clear that DHS will not consider the use of health care, nutrition, or housing programs when making immigration decisions. Under the new rule, DHS also clarified that a child’s or other family member’s use of federal safety net programs will not affect the applicant’s immigration application. The public charge rule was used by the Trump administration to limit the type of immigrant who could qualify for a green card based on age, education, income, and mental and physical capacity. The Biden Administration’s  move would make it very difficult for a future presidentIal administration to try and exclude potential lawful immigration to the United States in such a fashion.” 

Darius Amiri, Esq.
Immigration Department Chair

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September 2022