New Laws and Rules Affecting Green Card Holders

March 10, 2020

For the past few years, green card holders have paid close attention to changes regarding United States immigration law. In 2020, several key updates are expected to impact current and potential green card holders, as well as their family members. Some of the top green card-related modifications this year include the following items:

Public Charge Expansion

In January 2020, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of expanding the pool of immigrants who fall into the category of public charges. A public charge is someone who receives government assistance. In years past, the government assistance programs were limited in scope. Now, they have been expanded to include Medicaid and food stamps.

What this means is that when an immigrant applies for a green card, they may be denied because of the assumption that the immigrant will become a public charge. Therefore, immigrants will be required to prove they can financially pay for themselves before legally entering the United States. Immigrants who hold green cards and have used public assistance for 12 months out of the past 36 months may be at risk of deportation.

Asylum Seeker Green Card Extension

A foreign-born individual seeking asylum in the United States can now expect to wait longer for answers. Instead of a 30-day waiting period, they may have to wait for at least 90 days to find out if they are eligible for green card status. During the interim, they will have to wait on the border. Those who currently hold status as approved asylum seekers may have to re-apply for work permits at least 90 days ahead of the expiration date. Though this new rule remains in the proposal stages, it would significantly change the timeline for green card holders who came to the United States seeking asylum.

Tougher Naturalization Tests

In order to become naturalized citizens, green card holders must take a test. By the end of 2020, the testing requirements will become more stringent. Consequently, people seeking citizenship will have to prove a more comprehensive knowledge of United States government, as well as show more fluency and literacy in English.

In addition to these changes, the naturalization test will tighten its definition of what constitutes good moral character, which is part of the testing criteria. Immigrants with green cards who fail to pay their taxes or falsely claim to already be naturalized citizens will not be considered for citizenship.

Higher Costs to Obtain Citizenship

As a final note, green card holders on the path to United States citizenship can expect to pay more for their applications. The fee has jumped by 83 percent, which could prove a hardship for immigrants receiving low wages. It may also force some green card holders to wait longer so they can become naturalized citizens.

Vineland Immigration Lawyers at the MC Law Group, LLC Help Clients with Citizenship Concerns

If you are interested in becoming a naturalized citizen, meet with a Vineland immigration lawyer at the MC Law Group, LLC today. Call us at 215-496-0690 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout the tri-state area, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide.