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Beware of Rumors about Threatened Federal Changes in Immigrants and Public Benefits Programs

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, in collaboration with Massachusetts immigrant legal services providers
Reviewed February 8, 2017

February 8, 2017 9 p.m.

In January 2017, some newspapers published a draft Presidential Executive Order. This Order, if adopted, could change immigrants’ eligibility for public benefits programs sometime in the future. It could also change how getting benefits affects:

  • your application for legal status, or
  • your current status.

Do not listen to rumors

Legal services organizations and private lawyers who help immigrants are following these rumors carefully. They can advise you safely and confidentially if anything changes.

We know

  • The President has not signed any order about public benefits at this time.
  • The rules about who can and cannot get federal and state benefits have not changed.
  • The rules about how benefits affect legal status or an application for legal status have not changed either.

The government cannot change these rules quickly. The government must follow certain procedures. The procedures take time. If the government does not follow the procedures, there may be lawsuits against the government. Then it could take longer for the rules to be changed.

These rules are complicated. They depend on the type of legal status you need or already have.

Follow the advice of the immigration lawyer or the accredited representative who is handling your application for legal status. Also, if your immigration lawyer or an accredited representative tells you that you need an Affidavit of Support, tell the person who is going to sign the Affidavit of Support to get legal advice from a different lawyer. The person who signs the Affidavit of Support needs to understand how they may be affected if they sign this form to help you.

Get information from a reliable source. Go to your immigration lawyer or attend a legal services presentation about this. For information about a free legal services presentation you can attend, contact Maya Ramakrishnan at (617) 357-0700 ext 316  or [email protected].

Get Legal Help

Before you talk to USCIS always speak with an Immigration Specialist.

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