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DHS releases ANPRM on Public Charge

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) to gather data and feedback on the public charge ground of inadmissibility that will inform its development of a future regulatory proposal. Public comments are due Oct. 22.

The public charge ground of inadmissibility has faced significant administrative, regulatory, and judicial activity in the last several years. A 2019 final rule during the Trump administration vastly expanded the types of public benefits immigration officials consider when determining whether an individual is likely to become a public charge. Under immigration law, individuals seeking to enter or who reside legally in the United States and apply for a green card (adjustment of status) must demonstrate they are not likely to become a public charge in the future. The Trump administration added nonemergency Medicaid and other types of public benefits to immigration application determinations. In March 2021, under the Biden administration, DHS reversed the broadened definition of public charge, and this ANPRM is the next step in identifying key considerations associated with revising the regulations on the public charge ground of inadmissibility.

In addition to ensuring the proposed rule is fair and consistent with the law, DHS is pursuing an ANPRM to ensure that the proposed regulation does not impose undue burdens on noncitizens seeking admission to or adjustment of status in the United States. DHS notes that it is seeking public feedback to ensure that a future proposal “does not cause undue fear among immigrant communities or present other obstacles to immigrants and their families accessing public services available to them, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting long-term public health and economic impacts in the United States.” Notable to essential hospitals, DHS solicits information on:

  • purpose and definition of public charge, including supporting data and evidence and relevant public health policies to consider;
  • prospective nature of the public charge inadmissibility determination, including time periods;
  • statutory factors, including those that are most predictive of whether a noncitizen is likely or not to become a public charge;
  • public benefits considered part of public charge grounds of inadmissibility; and
  • previous rulemaking efforts.

Further, DHS acknowledges the valuable information and data that nonprofit organizations provide in this space. As such, DHS specifically seeks feedback from state, territorial, local, and tribal benefit granting agencies, as well as nonprofit organizations.

DHS will host public listening sessions on Sept. 14 and Oct. 5 from 2–3 pm ET. America’s Essential Hospitals is engaged in the ANPRM and will update essential hospitals on progress.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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