Senate Votes to Undo Biden Administration’s Sensible Public Charge Regulation, House Expected to Pass a Copy-Cat Effort

Washington, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) expresses deep disappointment with the Senate’s vote to disapprove of the USCIS Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility Final Rule via the Congressional Review Act under S.J. Resolution 18. The public charge rule is important because it establishes the process by which USCIS determines when someone can be considered “inadmissible” (not permitted by law to enter or remain in the United States) because they are likely to become primarily dependent on the government for support. The Senate is attempting to roll back the Biden Administration’s efforts to codify decades of established guidance in this area and make application of the public charge rule more transparent for immigrants and their families. President Biden has announced he plans to veto the legislation; AILA urges him to follow through on his veto promise if the legislation is passed by the House.

AILA President Jeremy McKinney noted, “This attempt to undo the current administration’s regulation will sow fear and confusion among immigrant communities. This hammer will fall hardest on U.S. citizen children with parents that do not have legal status and Ukrainians and Afghans who have received protection in the United States. The Biden Administration has implemented policies to ensure that immigrants from all walks of life are welcomed to America, where they can help build our economy and contribute to our shared prosperity. Unfortunately, the House seems poised to pass this legislation as well, and when that happens, we will push for President Biden to keep his promise to veto the measure and will applaud the administration’s commitment to stand up for families and communities across the nation.”

AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson stated, “The hypocrisy of this bill could not be more stark: the bill’s proponents pay lip service to legal immigration as they pursue attacks on the undocumented. The reality is this cynical move hits people with legal status the hardest, including extremely vulnerable groups like Ukrainians, Afghans and U.S. citizen children. Undoing a public charge rule implementing decades-long U.S. policy doesn’t make our country stronger, it stokes fear and uncertainty, pushing people away from benefits to which they are legally entitled. During the previous administration, many families were terrified that if they sought necessary health care or vital economic support, they would become ineligible for the American Dream if the government perceived them as being a public charge. Instead of scapegoating immigrants and trying enforcement-only policies at the border, Congress needs to do the work of building out immigration reform that actually addresses the needs of our country and our future.”

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 23051903.