Keep Your Eyes Peeled For Potential Impact of ‘PUBLIC CHARGE’ Rule Backlash

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Housing industry advocates aren’t the only ones in an uproar

A new policy is in the works that could drastically change your work with immigrants --- both those who are applying for legal status and those who have already received green cards or temporary visas. Find out what industry stakeholders are saying about the proposed rule and what it could mean for the finalized version of the policy.

What the Expanded Definition Would Mean

Background: On Oct. 5, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a proposed rule that would tighten the department’s guidelines on determining whether an immigrant is likely to become a “public charge” (see “How New Proposed ‘Public Charge’ Rule Could Impact Your Residents,” AHA Vol. 14, No. 11, page 83).

If DHS decides an immigrant is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence (or a so-called “public charge”), DHS would deny the immigrant a green card. Under the proposed rule, DHS would include in the public charge determination whether the immigrant is likely to receive a wide variety of public benefits, including housing assistance under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Not so fast: The DHS proposed rule has received significant backlash from many different stakeholders, both inside and outside the assisted housing industry. The Urban Institute (UI) stated that the proposed expanded definition of public charge would make it more difficult for applicants to secure green cards or temporary visas by negatively weighing recent or potential participation in safety net programs during the immigration process.

“Prior experience suggests immigration policy changes can lead to broader ‘chilling effects’ on program participation among population


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