Tue. Nov 12th, 2019

No recent official communications on COFA immigration rules: Director of Foreign Affairs

Recently a media outlet in Guam reported about the possibility of Trump administrations new rule barring immigrants from entering United States if they’re unable to sustain themselves affecting the citizens of Palau, to which the Palau Director of Foreign Affairs stated that there has been no official communication regarding the matter.

Under the current terms of Compact of Free Association, citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau may enter into the United States as nonimmigrants, lawfully engage in employment, and establish residence in the United States without regard to certain grounds of inadmissibility.

The Guam Post report is based on rule document about Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds published by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which intends to amend DHS regulations by prescribing how DHS will determine whether an alien applying for admission or adjustment of status is inadmissible to the United States

Director of Foreign Affairs Jeffrey Antol said that he was aware of the report but there has been no official communication regarding any new developments in terms of immigration from the US Embassy.

Antol stressed that the terms of COFA as per his knowledge are still the same and there has been no official communication in the matter of financial disclosures as a condition for admissibility.

In terms of COFA nations, the document states, “DHS acknowledges that COFA migrants may be affected by this rulemaking when applying for admission at a port of entry or when applying for adjustment of status before USCIS, but respectfully submits that Congress never exempted COFA nonimmigrants from the public charge ground of inadmissibility.”

The rule includes definitions of certain terms critical to the public charge determination, such as ‘‘public charge’’ and ‘‘public benefit,’’ which are not defined in the statute, and explains the factors DHS will consider in the totality of the circumstances when making a public charge inadmissibility determination

It will also be effective from 12 AM October 15, however, it also states that because COFA migrants are not required to obtain an extension of their nonimmigrant stay to remain in the United States pursuant to COFA, such nonimmigrants are unlikely to be affected by public benefits condition applicable to extension of stay applications. (By Eshan Kalyanikar)