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The Department of Homeland Security will implement its public charge rule Feb. 24. The rule makes applicants for permanent residence and changes or extensions of status within the U.S. subject to significantly greater scrutiny regarding their use or potential use of public benefits.
Background: DHS published a public charge rule last year that was supposed to take effect in October, but several courts enjoined implementation temporarily while the lawsuits progressed. Last month, the Supreme Court lifted the injunctions, except for a state-wide injunction in Illinois, allowing DHS to implement the rule during litigation. DHS announced earlier this month that the rule will take effect Feb. 24. The Supreme Court did not rule on the legality of the public charge regulation, and the lawsuits challenging it will continue to progress.
The State Department is currently seeking emergency approval of a new questionnaire that will allow it to implement its own version of the public charge rule, which will apply to visa applicants applying at U.S. consulates overseas. That rule would require visa applicants outside the U.S. to complete a lengthy visa questionnaire about their finances and other factors. The State Department is hoping to get approval from the Office of Management and Budget in time to implement the rule in concert with DHS on Feb. 24, but the questionnaire has not yet been approved.
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