Trump Admin rolls Out New Rule That Would Deny Green Cards To Immigrants On Public Assistance
The Trump administration on Monday announced new immigration rules that could deny green cards to immigrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance are going into effect, potentially making it more difficult for some to get legal status in the United States.
Federal law already requires those seeking green cards and legal status to prove they will not be a burden to the U.S., or what’s called a “public charge,” but the new rules, made public Monday, detail a broader range of programs that could disqualify them.
As reported by The Los Angeles Times, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers will now weigh public assistance along with other factors such as education, household income and health to determine whether to grant legal status.
Much of President Trump’s effort to crack down on illegal immigration has been in the spotlight, but the rule change is one of the most aggressive efforts to restrict legal immigration. It’s part of a push to move the U.S. to a system that focuses on immigrants’ skills instead of emphasizing the reunification of families, as it has done.
The rules will take effect in mid-October. They don’t apply to U.S. citizens.
The acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ken Cuccinelli, said the rule change fits with the Republican president’s message.
“We want to see people coming to this country who are self-sufficient,” Cuccinelli said. “That’s a core principle of the American Dream. It’s deeply embedded in our history, and particularly our history related to legal immigration.”
Immigration experts say the new rules make no sense since immigrants make up a small percentage of those who get public benefits. In fact, many are ineligible for public benefits because of their immigration status.
But advocates worry the rules will scare immigrants into not asking for help. And they are concerned the rules give too broad an authority to decide whether someone is likely to need public assistance at any time, giving immigration officials the ability to deny legal status to more people.