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La Prueba de la Carga Pública

This article about the public charge test was written by Texas Legal Services Center - Medical-Legal Partnerships. 

What does it mean to be a public charge?

Una nueva regla del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional de los EE. UU. puede dificultar que las personas de bajos ingresos pasen por el proceso legal de inmigración y obtengan una tarjeta verde (también conocida como estatus de Residente Permanente Legal o LPR). Hasta hace poco, la prueba de carga pública se aplicaba generalmente solo a inmigrantes que recibían SSI, TANF o Medicaid de atención a largo plazo, pero a menudo no se para negar el estatus de inmigrante.

 

 

¿Que ha cambiado?

A partir del 24 de febrero de 2020, la nueva prueba de carga pública considera otros programas de beneficios, incluyendo SNAP/cupones de alimentos (Programa de Asistencia Nutricional Suplementaria), Asistencia Federal de Viviendas Públicas y Sección 8, y la mayoría de los tipos de Medicaid (Nota: Pero NO Medicaid para niños hasta 21 años, para mujeres embarazadas hasta 60 días después del nacimiento, para emergencias o para servicios escolares). La regla no se aplica a los beneficios recibidos por un hijo o pariente. En otras palabras, si un niño recibe beneficios, el padre inmigrante no se ve afectado.

La regla también crea categorías de factores positivos y factores negativos.

 Negative factors include lacking English proficiency, poor credit history, and immigration fee waivers for admission and getting a green card. Positive factors include private health insurance, other sources of support, education, job skills, a job offer, or family members with a steady income. In other words, the major effect of the rule is that it changes the way we have to think about legal immigration under the law.

Each family should consider their own situation and weigh the benefits of getting help versus not getting help. For example, temporary receipt of public benefits might provide the kind of stability that allows a family better long-term prospects. For someone who is old and dying, it may not matter if they are subject to the public charge test because they may not live long without care.

 

Who is never a public charge?

The Trump Administration changed an administrative rule, but only Congress can change federal law. Under federal law, the following categories of noncitizens are not subject to a public charge test: refugees; asylees; survivors of trafficking, domestic violence, or other serious crimes (T or U visa applicants/holders); VAWA self-petitioners; special immigrant juveniles; certain people paroled into the U.S.; and several other categories of immigrants. People with green cards, called Legal Permanent Residents or LPRs, are not subject to a public charge test when they apply for U.S. citizenship or when they renew their green card. Also, if the person is not applying for immigration status, public charge does not matter.

 

When does the public charge test apply?

  • The new rule takes effect Febrauary 24, 2020 and it is not retroactive. This means that immigration applications and petitions received before February 24, 2020, will not use the new rule. It also means that any newly included benefits—SNAP, Medicaid, and housing—that were received before this date are not counted.

 

  • The public charge test applies:
    • If a benefit is received for more than twelve months in a given thirty-six month period. Each benefit counts separately–that is, if two benefits are received in one month, it counts as two months.
    • If a benefit is being currently received when the immigration application is turned in.