Public Charge as a Ground of Deportability

Public Charge
Removal Defense
U Visa/T Visa/VAWA
Publication Date

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), any noncitizen who “within five years from the date of entry, has become a public charge from causes not affirmatively shown to have arisen since entry is deportable.” In current practice, this ground of deportability rarely comes up in pending removal proceedings or as a reason for the initiation of removal proceedings.

The Trump administration did not issue any U.S. Department of Justice regulation, or “rule,” interpreting this provision. On September 9, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security under the Biden administration published a new rule on public charge that is set to take effect on December 23, 2022. The new rule does not apply to or affect the public charge ground of deportability discussed in this practice advisory.