WASHINGTON: The Trump administration introduced new rules on Monday that will make it so that immigrants who use or are likely to use public benefits, such as Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance, could be denied green cards.
The rules will take effect in mid-October. 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.
They don’t apply to U.S. citizens, even if the U.S. citizen is related to an immigrant who is subject to them.
The proposed version of the rule was released in September. The rule is the latest proposal by the Trump administration aiming to restrict immigration and will likely face swift legal challenge.
The Immigration and Nationality Act has long allowed the government to deny permanent residency to immigrants who were determined to be a financial burden on society or a “public charge” — meaning they’re dependent on the government for financial support.
The new rule will alter how the government decides if someone is a public charge.
Last year, researchers said the proposed version of the rule would have a serious impact on immigrants, regardless of whether they were affected by the policy.
“Numerous studies, by MPI and others, have found the rule would result in disenrollment from public benefits programs by many immigrants, including those not directly affected by the rule, as well as U.S.-born dependents,” read a report released by the Migration Policy Institute. “Already, there are anecdotal reports by service providers of people disenrolling from public benefit programs amid fear or confusion about the rule.”