News about Public Charge as a Ground of Inadmissibility

Written by: Bruna Frota
Last Updated: February 2, 2022
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By: Bruna Frota, Immigration Attorney

The Trump Administration announced a proposed rule, on September 22, 2018, to make changes to “public charge” policies that set forth how the use of public benefits may affect foreign nationals seeking admission to the United States from abroad on immigrant or nonimmigrants visas, foreign nationals seeking to adjust their status to that of lawful permanent residents from within the United States, and foreign nationals within the United States who hold a temporary visa and seek to either extend their stay in the same nonimmigrant classification or to change their status to a different nonimmigrant classification. After the proposed rule is officially published in the Federal Register, there will be a 60-day public comment period. Following that comment period and DHS’s consideration of the comments, it would issue final regulations and an effective date for the rule.

Under the proposed rule, officials would consider use of certain previously excluded programs, including Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy Program, and several housing programs, in public charge determinations.

Under previous policy clarified in 1999, the federal government specified that it would not consider use of Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or other non-cash benefits in public charge determinations.

This rule would not impact groups of aliens that Congress specifically exempted from the public charge ground of inadmissibility, such as refugees, asylees, Afghans and Iraqis with special immigrant visas, nonimmigrant trafficking and crime victims, individuals applying under the Violence Against Women Act, and special immigrant juveniles. Additionally, the rule excludes consideration of benefits received by U.S. citizen children of aliens who will acquire citizenship under either section 320 or 322 of the INA, and by alien service members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

About the Author

Bruna Frota started her career in the United States several years ago after migrating from Brazil. She worked for leading immigration law firms, such as Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP and De Mott, McChesney, Curtright and Armendáriz LLP, before opening her own practice. Bruna Frota has a team of paralegals and of counsels delivering outstanding customer service to our clients.

As an immigrant and business owner, Bruna Frota understands pitfalls involved in the U.S. immigration and business law systems and devotes her time and knowledge to help her clients achieve their goals. Principal Bruna Frota holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Fortaleza Law School in Fortaleza, Brazil and an LLM in International Law from the University of Houston Law Center. Bruna Frota is licensed by the state of New York and Texas. You can contact Bruna at: or