As someone hoping to immigrate to Illinois or another part of the United States, or conversely, as someone looking to help a family member immigrate to the United States, you may face an uphill battle. At Francis Law Center, we recognize that a recent, largely unpublicized rule change may make it harder than ever for immigrants to pursue their paths to citizenship, and we have helped many people navigating similar issues pursue solutions that meet their needs.

According to Reuters, a rule change took effect in late 2018 that is making it even harder for people to immigrate to the United States, and people looking to immigrate from Mexico may find that they are increasingly likely to have their visa requests denied. The new rule change allows the government to deny visas if the U.S. State Department believes that applicants may ultimately end up becoming “public charges,” meaning they may need to utilize government services in order to get by and support themselves while here.

In other words, the department now has more discretion when it comes to denying visas on the basis of applicants potentially becoming public charges, and research shows that the department is, in fact, exercising its ability to do so. In the 2018 fiscal year, for example, almost 13,500 immigrants received denials in response to their visa applications on public-charge grounds, which is the highest number of denials to fall within this category since 2004.

Mexican immigrants, in particular, may find that they are especially likely to have their visas denied for this reason. Mexicans received 11% fewer visas in 2018’s fiscal year than they did the year prior. Attorneys for some immigrants from Mexico and other countries allege that many of their clients are having their visas denied, even if they have proven themselves to be financially independent. You can find out more about immigration on our webpage.