Immigration Presentation

Immigrants and Public Benefits
What makes an immigrant a “public
Influx of Immigrants to U.S.
CIS Definitions of Public Charge
What is a public charge and when does it
• “likely to become primarily dependent on the
government for subsistence”
– public cash assistance for income maintenance
– institutionalization for long-term care at
government expense
No Public Charge Requirement to
• Does not apply in naturalization proceedings.
• Ground of removal?
• Naturalized citizens cannot lose their
citizenship because of use of public benefits
Totality of the Circumstances Test
• How is it determined whether someone is likely
to become a public charge for admission or
adjustment purposes?
Family status
Financial status
Education and skills
Some benefits not public charge
Non-cash benefits (other than
institutionalization for long-term care) are
generally not taken into account for purposes of
a public charge determination.
Specific Programs Exempt from Public
Charge Determinations
Medicaid and other health insurance and health
services (including public assistance for immunizations and
for testing and treatment of symptoms of communicable
diseases; use of health clinics, short-term rehabilitation
services, and emergency medical services) other than
support for long-term institutional care
Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
Nutrition programs, including Food Stamps, the Special
Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and
Children (WIC), the National School Lunch and School
Breakfast Program, and other supplementary and
emergency food assistance programs
• School financial Aid
Other programs not considered Public
• Housing benefits
Child care services
Energy assistance,
Emergency disaster relief
Foster care and adoption assistance
Educational assistance (such as attending public
school), including benefits under the Head Start Act and
aid for elementary, secondary, or higher education
Job training programs
In-kind, community-based programs, services, or
assistance (such as soup kitchens, crisis counseling and
intervention, and short-term shelter)
Who is eligible to receive public
• LPRs who entered the US after August 21, 1996 are
ineligible for food stamps and SSI until they become
citizens or have 40 quarters of work.
• No FEDERAL TANF and Medicaid for five years or, at
state option, until they become U.S. citizens or can
be credited with 40 quarters of work .
• Applies to any means-tested benefit or service
provided with FEDERAL TANF funds, including job
training and work supports.
Add’l eligibility requirements
• LPRs who entered before August 22, 1996
remain eligible for SSI (except for non-disabled
elderly immigrants who were not already
receiving SSI on August 22, 1996) and, at state
option, for TANF and Medicaid.
TANF eligibility requirements
• Adult LPRs who entered before August 22, 1996 are
ineligible for food stamps unless they are disabled,
were aged 65 or older on August 22, 1996, or can be
credited with 40 quarters of work.
• Refugees and asylees remain eligible during their first
five (TANF) or seven years (food stamps, Medicaid, SSI)
in the United States. After this initial period of
eligibility, states have the option to either continue
eligibility or to limit TANF and Medicaid eligibility to
those immigrants who have obtained citizenship or can
be credited with 40 quarters of work.
Sponsors of Immigrants:
Repayment for benefits received?
• Before welfare law, sponsor deeming could
occur during their first THREE YEARS.
• Deeming is now required until they obtain
citizenship or have worked for 40 quarters.
• The new rules extend deeming to Medicaid.
• The agency that provided the benefits may
sue the sponsor for reimbursement of the
Undocumented Immigrants
• States and local governments may not provide
public benefits, including nonemergency
health care benefits, to immigrants who are
not lawfully residing in the United States,
unless they enact a state law after August 22,
1996 which "affirmatively provides for such
eligibility." Nor may state and local
governments restrict their employees from
reporting any immigrants to the INS.
How much does that wall cost?
Confidentiality not required for state
agencies requesting eligibility info
• immigrant families cannot be sure that
information they provide when applying for
benefits for eligible family members, including
citizen children, will be kept confidential.
• legal immigrants who have been in the
country less than five years are not eligible for
the Oregon Health Plan.
• LPR residing under 5 years in the U.S. cannot
get federally funded temporary cash
assistance to carry him/her over to the next
State Assistance in Oregon
• Oregon provides job training and temporary
cash assistance to those immigrants no longer
eligible for federal help.
Who is Eligible to Immigrate?
1. Why don’t they wait in line?
2. Spouses of U.S. citizens
3. Children of U.S. citizens
4. Other family members
5. Waiver processing
Children Not Born in the U.S.
• Situations where parents are legal but children
are not: adult child petitions for parents
• Situations of one adult member in household
is legal but other is not (EWI)
• Split children (some USCs others not): abuse
and U visa options
What Can Be Done?
• Most people not eligible
• Immigration reform
– What would a good reform look like?
Note on the Canadian System
• Issue is whether we should move to a point-based
system as opposed to a more family-based system
Is language ability important?
Is level of education important?
Temporary visas for low level
What to do about all those
who have been waiting for
so long?