Immigrant Visa Denials, Based on the Public Charge Inadmissibility Ground, Skyrocket

People “likely to become a public charge” are “inadmissible,” unable to enter the United States to become US permanent residents. Consular officers have been increasingly using the “public charge” inadmissibility ground to squash the hopes of foreign nationals hoping to enter the United States and become US permanent residents.

The public charge inadmissibility ground applies to foreign nationals whom consular officers believe are likely to become dependent on the government for financial assistance.

Preliminary data obtained by the news outlet POLITICO shows there were 12,179 visa rejections on public charge grounds through July 29, 2019. This number puts the State Department on pace to surpass its total from last year.

Let’s compare these figures to the number of denials during similar findings of inadmissibility in fiscal year 2016, the last full year of the Obama administration. During that year, the State Department found that only 1,033 people were inadmissible due to public charge grounds.

Further, comparisons show the great rise in public-charge findings:

  • Haiti
    • The State Department turned away 1,109 Haitian immigrant visa applicants based on public charge grounds in fiscal year 2018, after no denials in fiscal year 2016.
  • Dominican Republic
    • Applicants from the Dominic Republic saw 1,012 immigrant visa denials through the first 10 months of fiscal 2019, up from a single rejection in fiscal 2016.
  • Mexico
    • Between Oct. 1 and July 29, the State Department denied 5,343 immigrant visa applications for Mexican nationals on the grounds that they were inadmissible because they were likely to be a public charge. That’s up from just seven denials for Mexican applicants in fiscal year 2016.