Trump admin makes green cards less accessible for immigrants on gov’t assistance

The Trump administration announced Monday that it is extending federal officials ability to deny green cards to those immigrants thought likely to depend on government aid, once in the United States, according to Fox News.

The extension is being hailed as a “public charge” rule that will work to ensure those who are offered permanent residency will be able to support themselves and help keep taxpayers from footing the bill.

“The principle driving it is an old American value, and that’s self-sufficiency,” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli told Fox News in an interview. “It’s a core principle — the American Dream itself — and it’s one of the things that distinguishes us, and it’s central to the legal history in the U.S. back into the 1800s.”

“It will also have the long-term benefit of protecting taxpayers by ensuring people who are immigrating to this country don’t become public burdens, that they can stand on their own two feet, as immigrants in years past have done,” he said. “It’s not only a recipe for their success, but for America’s success growing out of our immigration system.”

The new rule will reportedly not only better define the guidelines for a person’s entry into the country but allow for more reasons that they can be denied.

“While the ‘public charge’ inadmissibility standard has long been part of U.S. immigration law, the term has not been formally defined in statute,” Fox News reported. “The new rule, which will go into effect on October 15, will define ‘public charge’ as an immigrant who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months within a 36-month period.”

Included in the programs brought into consideration will be Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), as well as most forms of Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), according to Fox News.

The new rule is updating guidance that was set in place in 1999 by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and stated that the reliance on benefits such as SNAP and Medicaid should not be considered as part of the evaluation.

“The difficulty we have had for the last 20 years under the 1999 guidance is that it was in anticipation of a rule that was never entered and it was fairly minimalist guidance and it has not been particularly useful in the work we do at USCIS,” he said, calling the new rule a “better and more thorough attempt.”

Written by Savannah Pointer.

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