“In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s February 21, 2020 decision to stay the statewide injunction preventing implementation of the Final Rule issued by U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, USCIS will now apply the final rule to all applications and petitions postmarked (or submitted electronically) on or after February 24, 2020,” a USCIS statement noted on Feb. 21.
“The final rule, published on August 14, 2019 and originally scheduled to go into effect on October 15, 2019, prescribes how the Department of Homeland Security will determine whether an alien (immigrant) is inadmissible, and ineligible to adjust status to that of a lawful permanent resident in the United States because the alien is likely at any time in the future to become a public charge pursuant to section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act,” USCIS continued.
The agency explained the final rule also addresses USCIS’ authority to issue public charge bonds in the context of applications for adjustment of status. USCIS said the final rule includes a requirement that Caribbean and other immigrants seeking an extension of nonimmigrant stay or change of nonimmigrant status “demonstrate that they have not received public benefits over the designated threshold.”
In response, Caribbean American Democratic Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, daughter of Jamaican parents, blasted the court’s ruling.
“As a product of the hopes and dreams of an immigrant family, I am outraged by the Supreme Court’s decision to implement the public charge rule – a cruel policy (U.S. President) Donald Trump has crafted to jeopardize the lives of our nation’s most vulnerable,” Clarke told the Caribbean Media Corporation.
“Historically, the United States has served as a place of refuge for individuals around the world seeking to fulfill the American Dream,” she added. “Immigrants are our neighbors, our friends, leaders in our communities and even our members of Congress.
“It is disturbing to witness a global leader toying with people’s lives, and we must not stop fighting until Donald Trump is removed from office,” continued Clarke, an ardent critic of Trump’s immigration policies.
In early October, Clarke welcomed temporary injunctions by U.S. federal judges in three states blocking the Trump administration’s public charge rule against issuing green cards to Caribbean and other immigrants if they appear to be needing public assistance, such as financial aid, healthcare, food stamps and housing assistance. Judges in New York, California and Washington had issued temporary injunctions against the rule. Several legislators and immigration advocates filed legal challenges to Trump’s rule.
But, in a 5-4 ruling late January, the Republican-leaning high court honored the Trump administration’s request to set aside a ruling by a U.S. federal judge barring the so-called “public charge” rule while the merits of the case continue to be argued in lower courts.
Immigration advocates warned the Supreme Court ruling would shut the country’s doors to low-income immigrants and people of color, such as those from the Caribbean.
“I am keeping immigrant families who are wondering how to escape this impossible situation close to my heart today,” said Clarke, who voted for Trump’s impeachment in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Having to forfeit basic needs such as nutrition, housing and healthcare to get a green card or receive other lawful status is a sacrifice that no family should have to make.
“This reckless decision will only increase the separation of families and the holes within our immigration system. Lives are at stake and actions have consequences. Donald Trump will go down in history as a corrupt and senseless leader who has put millions of lives in danger as each day passes.
“… We won’t give up until we right this wrong.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James, who had joined several attorneys general across America in challenging the Trump administration’s request, said that she is still in the process of finding a permanent solution to the public charge rule.