Some legal immigrants in Texas may be concerned that applying for unemployment could affect the status of their green card application. In part, this is based in fear over the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule. This has to do with whether immigrants seek public assistance. Doing so can make it harder for them to become permanent residents.
However, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, unemployment is not included in the public charge review because it is an earned benefit and not welfare. Furthermore, some immigration lawyers say that the public charge review is not done on citizenship applications or renewals of green cards. The best strategy for individuals in this situation may be to consult an attorney or a legal help organization.
Typical of some of the people facing this situation is a woman from Germany who is married to an American. She is currently a foreign student and is worried that collecting unemployment might jeopardize her chance at permanent residency. This concern illustrates some of the central issues foreign nationals are facing. Immigration law has become very complex, and people watching the news may get a sense that they are not wanted since more barriers have been erected in some immigration categories. However, not all the barriers apply to all categories.
People who wish to apply for a green card or who want to work in the United States may be unaware of the various options and what type of visa they need. There might also be circumstances in which an individual is eligible under more than one classification, but one might be more likely to lead to acceptance or might be faster, and an attorney may also be able to help in making this determination.