DHS Final Rule on Public Charge Does Not Affect ORR Populations.

Dear Colleague Letter 19-06

Publication Date: September 5, 2019


Dear Colleague:

Immigrants that are eligible for ORR-benefits1(here, “refugees”) are exempt from provisions in the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule2 released August 12, 2019 by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to modify the public charge grounds of inadmissibility and removability found in immigration law. Receipt of public benefits by refugees has no public charge consequences for them under both existing law and the changes contained in the Final Rule. Access of benefits will not affect the ability of refugees to adjust status to lawful permanent resident (LPR) or their eligibility for other immigration benefits. The Final Rule is scheduled to take effect October 15, 2019. For background, please see ORR Dear Colleague Letter # 18-04 dated August 23, 2018.

Administration and enforcement of immigration laws, regulations, and policies, including the public charge rule, are the responsibility of DHS, the Department of State (DOS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), not ORR. ORR is publishing this Dear Colleague Letter on public charge and the DHS Final Rule to inform and reassure stakeholders that refugees are exempt from the current public charge rule and any modifications in the Final Rule.

If you have any questions about this Dear Colleague Letter, please contact Thomas Pabst at tel: 202-401-5398 or by email at: Thomas.Pabst@acf.hhs.gov.


Jonathan H. Hayes
Office of Refugee Resettlement

1 For a description of ORR-eligible individuals please see Policy Letter 16-1, 45 CFR 400.43, 45 CFR 400.111, and 45 CFR 400.208.

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