There are all kinds of reasons why an immigrant might not be allowed to enter or stay in America, but one lesser-known justification is becoming more and more prevelan: the “public charge.” What this ultimately means is that immigrants are being denied access to permanent residency for reasons based on the financial burden they may someday pose on U.S. social services. The troubling element about this is that most cases are based on “the potential” lack of money rather than any proof.

According to data acquired by the news gathering entity Reuters, the U.S. State Department is denying immigrants, because they might become “public charges” to U.S. government support services. Immigration attorneys, immigrants, and families also confirm that this appears to be happening more regularly.

Some immigration and green card lawyers have claimed that immigration officers are denying applicants who have valid jobs and are financially capable of being independent. Even those with a family sponsor who say they will be financially responsible for the immigrant, are having trouble with approvals.

What Changed at the State Department?

Last year, the State Department was given a broader reach in deciding the outcome of visa approvals based on public charge grounds. After one-year of that change, pro-immigration groups and legal teams are claiming the Departments of Homeland Security and State are not using the right “rule-making” process to make such decisions on denials.

The result, immigrants who have been in the U.S. illegally for a decade or more, are showing up to their visa hearings and getting denied residency and sent back to their country of origin. This is disrupting families and placing a strain on people who were otherwise living, working and contributing to the American way.

What is Being Done About it?

In a Maryland federal court, immigration law firms suggested that the government was making a manual decision on ‘public charge’ based on the aversion to immigrants in the U.S. The Attorneys for the U.S. Government rejected this accusation arguing that this sort of decision isn’t subject to court review or current laws.

Public charge denials were taking place years ago, such as denials in 2015 of about 900-cases. Since January of 2018, public grounds were cited in nearly 13,500 denial cases according to State Department records. The number of public charge denials has quadrupled since 2004.

What can you do if You’re a Target of Public Charge?

At Landerholm Immigration, we have a team of deportation defense lawyers who can help you through this kind of situation. If you’ve been scheduled for deportation based on public charge, you need legal support immediately. If you have already been deported, there still may be ways we can help you, and we urge you to consider working with us. We know that this predicament might have taken you by surprise, but we advise you to call or contact us today so we can learn more about your case and start finding the proper remedy.