Gauging the Impact of DHS’ Proposed Public-Charge Rule on U.S. Immigration

Randy Capps, Mark Greenberg, Michael Fix & Jie Zong
Date of Publication: 
November, 2018
Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute

On October 10, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed a new “public-charge” rule that could transform the current landscape of legal immigration by preventing many immigrants from obtaining lawful permanent residence (green card) or renewing temporary visas. The rule broadens the range of public benefits that officials need to consider when applying the “totality of circumstances” test to determine if an applicant is likely to use those benefits in the future. In this report, the Migration Policy Institute utilizes U.S. Census data and “conservative” modeling techniques to estimate the number of recent green card recipients who may have been at risk of denial had the proposed rule been in effect. Their analysis shows that women, children, older adults and low-skilled workers would be at greatest risk of denial. For example, 43 percent of recent green card recipients were neither employed nor in school, thus “at risk” of becoming a public charge, and 70 percent of those recipients were women. The report indicates the proposed rule would significantly reduce the number of immigrants sponsored by relatives, and favor immigrants originating in Europe over those from Mexico and Central America leading to a break from the current pro-family and diversity-focused policies. (Jasmina Popaja for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)

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Capps, R., Greenberg, M., Fix, M., & Zong, J. (2018). Gauging the Impact of DHS’ Proposed Public-Charge Rule on U.S. Immigration. Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved from