New Public Charge Rule Does Not Apply to Refugees or Special Immigrants from Afghanistan or Iraq

I’ve reported this news previously, but still get questions about it.

It is wonderful that the President is making it harder for people who would be a burden on our social services (aka welfare system) to stay in the US, but the new rule does not apply to perhaps the heaviest users of our social safety net—refugees.

Check out the new rules at The National Law Review:

Factors Government Will Consider under New Public Charge Rule

On the same day the Public Charge Rule went into effect (February 24, 2020), immigrant advocates held a teach-in at Boston City Hall to try to lessen the uncertainty and fear that has been spreading through immigrant communities.

At the Boston Teach-In last month. Bethany Li, of Greater Boston Legal Services, said the new rule will hit Chinese and other Asian immigrants particularly hard. I guess she is saying that her community uses a heck of a lot of welfare.

The Administration has stated that the Public Charge “[R]ule will protect hardworking American taxpayers, safeguard welfare programs for truly needy Americans, reduce the federal deficit, and re-establish the fundamental legal principle that newcomers to our society should be financially self-sufficient and not dependent on the largess of United States taxpayers.” However, immigration advocates view the rule as “penalizing poverty” and taking the chance to become self-sufficient away from immigrants, a group of individuals who historically has been an important part of our country and our economy.

Previously, this rule primarily affected those who accepted cash welfare benefits. However, the new rule makes admission to the U.S. more difficult for low-income immigrants and non-immigrants who use other, non-cash welfare benefits. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has said that the public charge rule is meant to determine whether a person is likely to use of certain government benefits in the future. To make that determination, officers will review the totality of the circumstances, including an applicant’s income, age, health, family status, assets, credit scores, liabilities, education, and skills (including English language), visa classification sought, and receipt of public benefits. Some factors serve as “negative” factors, others as “positive” factors.


These groups of individuals will not be subject to the public charge test:


~Applicants for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), asylee or refugee status, special immigrant juvenile status, or U or T visas.

More here.


Editor’s note:  As RRW approaches its 13th birthday, there are over 10,000 posts archived here at Refugee Resettlement Watch. Unfortunately, it is just me here with no staff and so it has become virtually impossible to answer all of the basic questions that come into my e-mail inbox or to RRW’s facebook page every day. I don’t want to appear rude—I simply haven’t enough hours in the day.

Please take time to visit RRW (don’t just read posts in your e-mail) and use the search window in the right hand sidebar and see if you can find the information you need.  Also see my series that I wrote in recent months entitled Knowledge is Power which explains some basic principles of how Refugee Resettlement is carried out in the US.

And, lastly, I don’t write that much every day, so if you made a habit of reading my posts here on a daily basis, you would eventually catch on to what is happening because I do link back to previous posts as much as possible. LOL!  Thank you for helping me not go crazy!


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3 thoughts on “New Public Charge Rule Does Not Apply to Refugees or Special Immigrants from Afghanistan or Iraq

  1. Actually the “Public Charge” rule has been in the Immigration and Nationality Act all along, we just stopped enforcing it somewhere along the line.

    It also states they can’t go on welfare within the first five years after their admission to the U.S. as permanent residents.

  2. Ann, I want to tell you how much I appreciate your emails and articles. I only subscribed a few months ago, so I’ve got some catching up! I do a short newsletter of my own to friends and family who want to receive it, and I usually include one of your articles within the newsletter. I thank you for the multitude of information and facts you bring to the public’s attention. Thank you!

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