New rule now in effect that will easily allow immigrants to receive public benefits

ByKaren Alvarez KTRK logo
Friday, January 6, 2023
Immigrants eligible for public benefits thanks to new DHS ruling
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According to the rule, a noncitizen's application for government programs will not be considered a public charge violation. This rule marks the end of the Trump-era version that li

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It's been two weeks since the Department of Homeland Security's Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility rule went into effect.

"Under this new rule, immigrants who are here can obtain food stamps. They can actually get housing assistance," immigration attorney Ral Obioha said.

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Obioha says this final rule is a departure from the Trump administration's version, which she says placed limits on who qualified to receive immigration benefits.

"Under the Trump administration's version of the public charge rule, there was a vast definition of what public benefits were included to determine if an immigrant was a public charge to the U.S. or not," she said.

That meant immigrants couldn't have access to important services like Medicaid, housing or rental assistance, or food stamps.

According to Obioha, Biden's version of the rule sticks to its intended purpose, creating vast opportunities for immigrants seeking help without fearing repercussions.

According to this rule, a noncitizen's application for or receipt of government programs like SNAP benefits or other federal nutrition assistance benefits administered by the Food and Nutrition Service will no longer be considered public charge violations.

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When it comes to its impact, Obioha said it's a vital step toward addressing food insecurity among immigrant families, who have faced fears about the possible ramifications of government programs.

"When you come here with nothing, you need time to build up, and sometimes you need assistance, and it doesn't mean that you'll eventually be a public charge. It means you need time to get a job, build up education, and skills to have a better life for you and your family," Obioha said.