Of course, the most affected party in this legal back and forth are the applicants looking for an extension or adjustment of their status. What the November 2 decision meant for employers and foreign nationals is that they don’t have to worry about the new green card rules standing in their way. The expectation after the ruling was that the USCIS will acknowledge the decision and act accordingly. The 7th Circuit court decision of course changes all that: It means a return of the same procedure for the applicants. The public charge forms and documents required before the ruling are required again.
Perhaps the most notable side effect of this legal battle has been on the health of the immigrants. According to the Commonwealth Fund, before the final rule, Medicaid was considered as evidence of public charge status when it was used for long-term care. Unfortunately, after the final rule, any type of nonemergency Medicaid use by most public charge-restricted immigrants can affect their ability to become a citizen.
The public charge rule seems to be part of the regulatory wall the Trump administration has constructed against immigrants. The constant rejection and reinstatement of the final rule have created a culture of uncertainty for immigrants and their employers. Unfortunately, with more appeals against the rule, this environment of constant confusion and hardship for immigrants is likely to continue.
Richard Herman is a nationally renowned immigration lawyer, author, and activist. He has dedicated his life to advocating for immigrants and helping change the conversation on immigration. He is the founder of the Herman Legal Group, an immigration law firm launched in 1995 and recognized in U.S. World News & Report’s “Best Law Firms in America.” He is the co-author of the acclaimed book, Immigrant, Inc. —Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (John Wiley & Sons, 2009). Richard’s poignant commentary has been sought out by many national media outlets, including The New York Times, USA Today, BusinessWeek, Forbes, FOX News (The O’Reilly Factor), National Public Radio, Inc., National Lawyers Weekly, PC World, Computerworld, CIO, TechCrunch, Washington Times, San Francisco Chronicle and InformationWeek.