Ybarra Maldonado Law Group Phoenix Inmigración Lesiones Personales y Abogado Penal y Grupo Legal

Will COVID-19 Stimulus Money or Unemployment Hurt my Immigration Case?

Many of our community members have reached out wondering if stimulus programs or unemployment will hurt their chances of becoming a legal permanent resident, U.S. Citizen, or losing their DACA status. The fear stems largely from the new “Cargo público"Definición presentada por la administración Trump. Echemos un vistazo a cada programa:

Unemployment and USCIS

USCIS considers unemployment benefits an earned benefit. This means that you did something (previously worked for a certain amount of time) and earned the right to the money. As such, unemployment benefits are not considered in the public charge analysis. USCIS has published a list of programs considered earned benefits which can be found aquí. As you will see, unemployment benefits are in the same category as worker’s compensation, social security, medicare, and SSDI.

Stimulus Checks and USCIS

COVID-19 stimulus checks from the federal government are considered tax credits. They are not considered a cash benefit that is being handed out but considered a future credit you will receive when doing your taxes. USCIS specifically states, “In addition to cash benefits for income maintenance identified in the rule (SSI, TANF, and GA), USCIS considers any other federal, state, and local tribal cash assistance for income maintenance (que no sean créditos fiscales)."(énfasis añadido). Debido a que el dinero de alivio de COVID se considera un crédito fiscal, el USCIS no debe tener esto en cuenta en su análisis de beneficios públicos.

Debit Cards Sent to Parents-Pandemic School Meal Replacement

Many parents have also received debit cards in the mail if they have school-aged children on free or reduced lunch programs. In Arizona, this is called the Programa de reemplazo de comidas de la escuela pandémica P-EBT de Arizona. La carta del Departamento de Seguridad Económica de Arizona establece específicamente que usted no solicitó la tarjeta y no se considera un beneficio de Asistencia Nutricional. La carta incluso dice: "La recepción de beneficios de P-EBT por parte de no ciudadanos no afectará la admisión a los Estados Unidos, el ajuste de estatus a residente permanente legal, convertirse en ciudadano naturalizado y la deportación". El Programa de Asistencia Nutricional Suplementaria se considera un beneficio público enumerado y agradecemos mucho al Departamento de Seguridad Económica de Arizona por indicar claramente en su carta que este Reemplazo de comidas no se considera un beneficio de Asistencia Nutricional y no afectará el estado de inmigración.

Bottom line, community members should feel comfortable using any of the three programs mentioned above during these difficult economic times without fear of hurting their immigration cases. It is also important to remind folks that the public charge analysis no se aplica to those seeking immigration benefits if they are applying as refugees, asylees, VAWA self-petitioners, or if they are seeking a U or T Visa. The public charge analysis is a big change in the immigration world, but it is often misunderstood. Please share this information with your friends and loved ones to ensure they are making use of these programs, which will not impact their immigration status. If you or a loved one are in need of immigration services please give us a call to speak with one of our experienced team members at 602-910-4040. For more on this topic, watch Abogado Ray’s video below: (Espanol y English)


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