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ATLANTA, Georgia. According to legal immigrants are entitled to receive health care coverage under the health insurance marketplace. The groups that are entitled to receive health insurance include U.S. citizens, U.S, nationals, and immigrants who are lawfully present in the U.S. Undocumented immigrants are not entitled to purchase health care coverage under the insurance marketplace. Furthermore, undocumented immigrants are not entitled to receive premium tax credits for plans. However, a new Trump administration proposal could potentially hurt legal immigrants when they are applying for health coverage under the marketplace.

According to the Washington Post, any immigrant who receives public benefits, including tax credits for health insurance premiums, could face difficulty when applying for a green card or permanent residency. Under former laws, immigrants applying for family-based green cards, marriage-based green cards, or for work-based green cards were only penalized if they accepted cash benefits. However, under Trump’s proposed plan, immigrants who receive any benefits, including health insurance premiums may be penalized under the Trump administration’s proposed plan to restrict immigration. Under the proposed policy, ICE officers can consider immigrants’ use of any public benefits, including tax credits, when making determinations about whether a person could become a “public charge.” One of the listed changes includes use of health care subsidies.

According to the Washington Post, approximately 22 percent of immigrants use non-cash benefits. These benefits include housing assistance, assistance to help pay for health insurance, and assistance for food. Fortunately, some benefits are not included, like childhood Head Start programs, armed services benefits, disability, and worker’s compensation benefits. However, having children could be seen as a risk factor that an immigrant or an immigrant family might use benefits. If you are planning to become pregnant or have kids, you may want to estimate whether having an additional dependent would change your financial circumstances adversely.

Many individuals, including those at USCIS, don’t agree with the public charge rule, some claiming that it makes immigration only possible for the wealthy or better off applicants, essentially denying avenues of immigration for the poor. At the end of the day, many green card requirements stipulate that individuals must not be at risk of becoming a public charge. If you have questions or concerns about how your use of government benefits or tax breaks can impact your immigration status or green card application, reach out to the green card lawyers at Kuck Baxter Immigration in Atlanta, Georgia today. Our firm can review your unique circumstances, help you understand your rights, and fight to help you get the best possible outcome for your immigration situation. If you plan to take the premium tax credit this year and are in the process of applying for a green card, consider reaching out to Kuck Baxter Immigration in Atlanta, Georgia today.

Kuck Baxter Immigration Partners, L.L.C.
365 Northridge Road
Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30350
325 N Milledge Avenue
Athens, GA 30606
(by appointment only)

Charles Kuck

Managing Partner