For full report, please go to:

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 157 (Wednesday, August 14, 2019)]

[Rules and Regulations]

[Pages 41292-41508]

From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office []

[FR Doc No: 2019-17142]

[[Page 41291]]

Vol. 84


No. 157

August 14, 2019

Part III

Book 3 of 3 Books


Department of Homeland Security


8 CFR Parts 103, 212, 213, et al.

Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds; Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 84 , No. 157 / Wednesday, August 14, 2019 /

Rules and Regulations

[[Page 41292]]



8 CFR Parts 103, 212, 213, 214, 245 and 248

[CIS No. 2637-19; DHS Docket No. USCIS-2010-0012]

RIN 1615-AA22

Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds

AGENCY: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DHS.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: This final rule amends DHS regulations by prescribing how DHS

will determine whether an alien applying for admission or adjustment of

status is inadmissible to the United States under section 212(a)(4) of

the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA or the Act), because he or she

is likely at any time to become a public charge. The final rule

includes definitions of certain terms critical to the public charge

determination, such as ``public charge'' and ``public benefit,'' which

are not defined in the statute, and explains the factors DHS will

consider in the totality of the circumstances when making a public

charge inadmissibility determination. The final rule also addresses

USCIS' authority to issue public charge bonds under section 213 of the

Act in the context of applications for adjustment of status. Finally,

this rule includes a requirement that aliens seeking an extension of

stay or change of status demonstrate that they have not, since

obtaining the nonimmigrant status they seek to extend or change,

received public benefits over the designated threshold, as defined in

this rule.

This rule does not create any penalty or disincentive for past,

current, or future receipt of public benefits by U.S. citizens or

aliens whom Congress has exempted from the public charge ground of

inadmissibility. This rule does not apply to U.S. citizens, even if the

U.S. citizen is related to an alien subject to the public charge ground

of inadmissibility. The rule also does not apply to aliens whom

Congress exempted from the public charge ground of inadmissibility

(such as asylees, refugees, or other vulnerable populations listed as

exempt in this final rule). Nor does this rule apply to aliens for whom

DHS has statutory discretion to waive this ground of inadmissibility,

if DHS has exercised such discretion.

In addition, this includes special provisions for how DHS will

consider the receipt of public benefits, as defined in this rule, by

certain members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families; certain

international adoptees; and receipt of Medicaid in certain contexts,

especially by aliens under the age of 21, pregnant women (and women for

up to 60 days after giving birth), and for certain services funded by

Medicaid under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

or in a school setting. Aliens who might qualify for these exemptions

should study the rule carefully to understand how the exemptions work.

This final rule also clarifies that DHS will only consider public

benefits received directly by the alien for the alien's own benefit, or

where the alien is a listed beneficiary of the public benefit. DHS will

not consider public benefits received on behalf of another. DHS also

will not attribute receipt of a public benefit by one or more members

of the alien's household to the alien unless the alien is also a listed

beneficiary of the public benefit.

This final rule supersedes the 1999 Interim Field Guidance on

Deportability and Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds.

DATES: This final rule is effective at 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time on

October 15, 2019. DHS will apply this rule only to applications and

petitions postmarked (or, if applicable, submitted electronically) on

or after the effective date. Applications and petitions already pending

with USCIS on the effective date of the rule (i.e., were postmarked

before the effective date of the rule and were accepted by USCIS) will

not be subject to the rule.


Naturalization Division Chief, Office of Policy and Strategy, U.S.

Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security,

20 Massachusetts NW, Washington, DC 20529-2140; telephone 202-272-8377.


Table of Contents

I. Executive Summary

A. Purpose of the Regulatory Action

B. Legal Authority

C. Summary of the Proposed Rule

D. Summary of Changes in the Final Rule

1. Definitions

2. Public Benefits

3. Applicability to Nonimmigrants

4. Totality of the Circumstances Determination

5. Public Charge Bond for Adjustment of Status Applicants

6. Other Changes

E. Summary of Costs and Benefits

II. Background

A. Public Charge Inadmissibility and Public Charge Bonds

B. Current Public Charge Standards

C. Final Rule

III. Public Comments on the Proposed Rule

A. Summary of Public Comments

B. Requests To Extend Comment Period

C. Comments Expressing General Support for the NPRM

D. Comments Expressing General Opposition to the NPRM

1. Purpose of the Rule and Self Sufficiency

2. Requests for Reconsideration and Withdrawal of NPRM

3. Alternatives to the Public Charge Rule

4. Discrimination and Disparate Impact

5. Potential Disenrollment Impacts

Choice Between Public Benefits and Immigration Status

General Assertions as to Effects

Housing Benefit-Related Effects

Food and Nutrition Benefit-Related Effects

Health Benefit-Related Effects

Effects on Vulnerable Populations

Effects on U.S. Citizens

Increased Costs to Health Care Providers, States, and


6. Inconsistent With American Values and Historic Commitment to


7. Contributions to American Society and Consideration of Self-


8. Adjudication and Processing

9. Privacy Concerns

E. General Comments Regarding Legal Authority and Statutory


1. Lack of Statutory Authority/Inconsistent With Congressional


2. Additional Legal Arguments

a. Allegations That the Rule Is Arbitrary and Capricious

b. Alternatives

c. Retroactivity

d. Due Process/Vagueness and Equal Protection

e. Coordination With Other Federal Agencies

f. International Law and Related Issues

g. Contract Law

F. Applicability of the Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility,

and the Public Benefit Condition to Extension of Stay and Change of


1. Applicability of the Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility


2. Applicability and Content of the Public Benefits Condition

a. Nonimmigrant Students and Exchange Visitors

b. Workers

d. Compact of Free Association Migrants

3. Exemptions and Waivers With Respect to the Rule Generally

a. General Comments

b. Special Immigrant Juvenile

c. Certain Employment Based Preference Categories, or National

Interest Waiver

d. Violence Against Women Act, T, and U

4. Summary of Applicability, Exemptions, and Waivers

G. Definitions

1. Public Charge

a. Threshold Standard

``Primarily dependent'' Based on Cash Public Benefit Receipt or

Long-Term Institutionalization at Government Expense

b. Standards for Monetizable and Non-Monetizable Benefits