Federal Judge Blocks Public Charge Test for Green Card and Visa Applicants

July 30, 2020 | United States of America

A federal judge has blocked the Trump Administration from imposing a wealth test on green card and visa applicants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On July 29, 2020, Judge George B. Daniels at the U.S. District Court in Manhattan issued a nationwide temporary injunction against President Trump’s wealth test, also known as the Public Charge, for foreign nationals applying for green cards and visas. The Trump Administration implemented the wealth test as a basis for denying green cards and visas based on applicants’ likelihood of becoming a public charge. A “public charge” is the use of government funding and programs such as food stamps, housing vouchers, and Medicaid. Previously, applicants could be denied permanent residency based on their likelihood of using social services.

The wealth test, which was added last year as a basis for green card and visa eligibility, has encountered several legal challenges. Most recently, New York and several other states sued the Trump Administration on the premise that the wealth test prevents foreign nationals from seeking critical financial aid and medical treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to avoid penalties.

The wealth test went into effect in February 2020 after the Supreme Court ruled in January that it could be used as a basis for denying green cards and visa.