ON May 14, 2021, President Biden revoked former President Trump’s proclamation of October 4, 2019, which would have barred the entry of immigrants unless they could prove they already had health insurance, could secure health insurance within 30 days of entry or had the financial capacity to cover their healthcare costs.
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It was estimated that if Trump’s proclamation had taken effect, it could have barred the entry of as many as two-thirds of legal immigrants. Trump’s insurance proclamation could have easily prevented elderly parents, family members with certain medical conditions, and poor people from being able to immigrate.
According to Pres. Biden, Trump’s healthcare proclamation did not “advance the interests of the United States.” Instead, Biden stated that his administration “is committed to expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare.” This could be achieved “without barring the entry of noncitizens who seek to immigrate lawfully to this country but who lack significant financial means or have not purchased healthcare insurance coverage from a restrictive list of qualifying plans.”
This is a welcome relief from Trump’s restrictive policies, especially when it came to public charge. As you recall, Trump tried to restrict people from immigrating if a consul believed it was likely that they would ever seek public benefits at any time in the future.
He also tried to restrict people from immigrating if the petitioner had ever received certain public benefits. With his 2019 proclamation, Trump wanted to make sure people who immigrated could provide their own healthcare coverage, and if they could not, they could be refused a visa.
Now, fortunately, we are going back to the policies on public charge that had been in effect since 1999. Of course, the petitioner must still give an affidavit of support and meet the poverty guidelines.
But if you have a family member who is being processed for an immigrant visa abroad, and you have any questions or issues about their eligibility, whether it is for public charge or any other item, I would strongly suggest that you seek advice and assistance of an attorney. I know many people try to first do filing of immigration application themselves, and then if they are denied or refused, they see an attorney. But once a case is denied at the embassy, it could be very difficult to get the denial or refusal reopened or overturned.
In many cases, the embassy will immediately send the case back to USCIS, where it could take years before you can be given a chance to argue eligibility.
But still, this is great news, as it is one less item people have to worry about as grounds for denial or refusal.
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Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 40 years and is licensed, and an active member of the State Bars of California and New York. All immigration services are provided by, or under the supervision of, an active member of the State Bar of California. Each case is different, and results may depend on the facts of the particular case. The information and opinions contained herein (including testimonials, “Success Stories,” endorsements and re-enactments) are of a general nature, and are not intended to apply to any particular case, and do not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the outcome of your legal matter. No attorney-client relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader.
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