USCIS Removes Form I-944 Requirement After New Public Charge Rule is Vacated
In a stunningly swift decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit lifted its stay on a previous order vacating the new public charge rule. This move followed a U.S. Supreme Court decision to deny review of this controversial public charge ruling on March 9, 2021, after receiving notice from the Biden Administration that they no longer intended to defend this policy on behalf of the government. In practice, this decision means that the USCIS will no longer enforce the new public charge rule. The Form I-944 was promptly removed from the USCIS website and the 1999 Interim Field Guidance will now be utilized to determine whether or not an applicant is likely to become a public charge to the United States based upon the totality of the circumstances.
This rapid reversal of a restrictive policy from the previous administration will significantly lower the burden on adjustment of status applicants applying for green cards. The Form I-944 contained many time-consuming and costly requests, significantly increasing the resources required to file an I-485 application. One development to monitor is the status of the current Form I-485, as well as the Forms I-129 and I-539, which all currently contain language referring to the new public charge rule and designed around enforcing this restrictive immigration policy. It is possible that the USCIS will soon publish new forms for both non-immigrant and immigrant visa applications to more closely align with the 1999 public charge guidance. Our office will continue to closely monitor such developments and updates as they arise. Please feel free to contact us with any questions regarding this development, as U.S. immigration law and policy begins to shift under the new administration.