The federal government recently announced a change to immigration policy that could make it more difficult for those who have entered the United States legally to obtain permanent lawful status needed to remain in this country. According to varying estimates by the Department of Homeland Security and immigration advocacy groups, the new regulation, which goes into effect on Oct. 15th, could affect at least hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of people across the country, including Nebraska. Referred to as the "public charge rule," it will take immigrants' use or predicted use of government aid programs into account when determining eligibility for green cards.
Immigration law in the United States has included a public charge provision since 1882. What the new rule reportedly changes is the definition of a public charge. In theory, the term refers to someone who becomes a burden on the public. The most recent definition of what it means to be a public charge is someone who receives more than half of his or her support from the government.