What is the U.S. Immigration I-944 Form, & Does it Penalize Immigrants For Needing Benefits?

What is the U.S. Immigration I-944 Form, & Does it Penalize Immigrants For Needing Benefits?

President Trump’s new public charge rule would force green card applicants using the Adjustment of Status procedure to additionally submit the I-944 form with their green card application when applying from the U.S. Form I-944 is presented as a means to determine whether or not an immigrant is likely to be able to support themselves and their family in the U.S. without heavily depending on public benefits. An immigrant would be determined “heavily dependent” if they would likely need to use public benefits 12 of the months within any 36-month time frame. 

This new rule, established by the Trump Administration, would essentially penalize immigrants needing assistance by denying green cards and visas to those who are likely to use government benefits. These benefits include, but are not limited to, food stamps, housing vouchers, nutrition assistance and subsidized medical insurance. The initial draft of the I-944 Form gained copious amounts of scrutiny from the public upon its release, many people expressing outrage that the Trump Administration would punish immigrants for utilizing benefits that they’re legally entitled to. 

As a result of the I-944 Form requirement, green card applicants will be forced to jump through additional hoops in order to complete the already tedious application process, and a significant number of them will no longer qualify. Furthermore, The Urban Institute revealed that 1 in 7 immigrant adults reported that they themself or an immigrant family member did not use a benefit program last year out of fear that their green card status would be at risk.₂ 

Work Cited

  1. Bernstein, Hamutal, et al. “With Public Charge Rule Looming, One in Seven Adults in Immigrant Families Reported Avoiding Public Benefit Programs in 2018.” Urban Institute, 5 Feb. 2020, www.urban.org/urban-wire/public-charge-rule-looming-one-seven-adults-immigrant-families-reported-avoiding-public-benefit-programs-2018.
  2. Fessler, Pam, and Joel Rose. “Trump Administration Rule Would Penalize Immigrants For Needing Benefits.” NPR, Kpbs, 12 Aug. 2019, www.npr.org/2019/08/12/748328652/trump-administration-rule-would-penalize-immigrants-for-using-benefits. 
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