Is receiving a COVID-19 considered a public charge?

Juarez Lincoln Bridge
Juarez Lincoln Bridge(KGNS)
Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 10:57 AM CST
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LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) - A Tik Tok video made by a Las Vegas attorney is raising eyebrows claiming that some travelers are getting their temporary visas cancelled after getting their COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection and a local immigration attorney speaks out about the claims as well as concerns others may have.

Recently there has been a viral video on Tik Tok of an attorney Kathia Quiros claiming she has seen cases of people getting their visas cancelled after showing their U.S vaccination card; one of the cases allegedly happened in Laredo.

According to a document obtained by Quiros, the individual told immigration officials at the Lincoln Juarez Bridge they had received the COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. and was quote considered a public charge.

Quiros says, I came across these documents from the Border Patrol that effectively had canceled a tourist visa because the person had received vaccination in the United States.

Although these claims are very rare and don’t happen often, according to the U.S citizen and Immigration Services website, getting any COVID-19 preventative services is not considered public charge.

Public charge means that a person is using government benefits when they are not entitled to it.

We reached out to CBP representatives about these allegations and how one of the cases relating to visa removal allegedly happened here.

They say, CBP officials have denied the entry of some unvaccinated non-essential travelers attempting to enter the U.S. for strictly getting vaccinated.

They add that they will generally not result in visa cancellations unless there are other reason for this to happen; however, Attorney Quiros says that CBP says these are isolated incidents.

Quiros says, “What we were able to do is raise awareness and call for the government’s attention to this issue so hopefully they have instructed all Border Patrol agents to not to refuse anybody based on their vaccination history.”

CBP goes on to say fully vaccinated non-essential travelers with valid travel documents are allowed to enter the country.

Meanwhile, Laredo Immigration Attorney Nelly Vielma says there’s a couple of things you can do if this happens to you.

Vielma says, “Anybody that is going through this unfortunate situation that they are canceling their visa should seek and apply for it again and explain the situation and hopefully they take a more humanitarian view that vaccination was needed.”

Attorney Quiros adds that if this happens to you, you should go to the consulate or embassy and explain to them what happened.

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