President Biden’s Executive Order Targets Immediate Review of Public Charge Agency Actions
Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) July 13, 2021 – President Joe Biden signed an executive order that mandates an immediate “top-to-bottom” review of the Trump Administration’s restrictive immigration policies centering on inadmissibility on public charge grounds.
Executive Order 14012, issued on February 2, 2021, directs the Departments of Justice, State and Homeland Security to evaluate the implementation and effects of the Public Charge Rule. These Departments are directed to consult with the heads of other relevant federal agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services.
The order also rescinds a Trump Administration memorandum requiring families to repay the government if sponsored relatives receive public benefits. The Public Charge Rule allows the federal government to bar an individual from gaining permanent resident status based on such persons’ receipt of public benefits.
“Finally, an examination of the Trump-era Public Charge Rule — a rule which has added nothing but another wall to legal immigration,” commented Stewart Rabinowitz of the Dallas and Frisco law firm of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. “A petitioner’s Affidavit of Support in support of a family member has worked well for years to prevent public expenditures for new immigrants. The elimination of the Public Charge rule barrier would be a welcome change.”
The executive order marks a departure from the previous administration’s restrictive immigration policies. Federal agencies have been instructed to “develop welcoming strategies that promote integration, inclusion and citizenship.”
The departments have 60 days from when the order was issued to provide the President with a report that identifies actionable steps for addressing the Public Charge Rule’s impact on the immigration system. The affected agencies must also issue recommendations for what each agency can do to inform affected communities about public charge policies and potential changes in a way that avoids “fear and confusion.”
The Public Charge Rule was first announced in August 2019 and faced multiple lawsuits. The final rule expanded the public programs considered in the federal government’s public charge determination. The focus of the public charge inadmissibility grounds shifted to a burdensome wealth test instead of evaluating an individual’s likelihood of needing public benefits in the future.