New Trump Rule Could Deny Green Cards to Legal Immigrants Who Received Food Stamps, Medicaid

The Trump administration released a new regulation aimed at limiting legal immigration on Monday, making it easier for immigration officials to deny permanent residency green cards to immigrants who received financial assistance from the government.

The new policy for “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds,” which was published on the Federal Register Monday and will take effect in two months, will make it harder for legal immigrants to obtain a green card or citizenship if they ever received benefits like Medicaid, food stamps, or housing assistance.

“Through the public charge rule, President Trump’s administration is reinforcing the ideals of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, ensuring that immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful here in America,” US Citizenship and Immigration Services acting director Ken Cuccinelli told reporters, according to The Washington Post.

The rule could “dramatically reduce” family-based legal immigration from Mexico, Central America, and Africa, The Washington Post reports.

Rule would deny green cards to people with medical conditions, people who don’t get benefits:

“Likeliness of becoming a public charge already is grounds to be denied a green card or the opportunity to become a U.S. citizen,” The Post reported. “The Trump administration will broaden the public charge definition to encompass not just those primarily dependent on public assistance programs, but anyone who uses a public benefit, including publicly funded health care programs including Medicaid, food stamps, other nutrition-related programs, or housing assistance.”

Factors that will now count against a green card applicant include having a “medical condition” that will interfere with work or school, having insufficient funds for “any reasonably foreseeable medical costs,” having “financial liabilities,” having a low credit score, not having private health insurance, not having a college degree or sufficient English skills, and being approved for a public benefit even if the person never received the benefit.

“With one regulation, they are attempting to scratch two itches: one is penalizing immigrants for using public benefits that they are legally entitled to, and the other is cutting legal immigration in half,” former Obama administration official Doug Rand told The Post. “And the way you cut legal immigration in half is by kicking the doors out from the definition of ‘likely to become a public charge.’”


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