Wednesday, December 12, 2018

President Trump's new “public charge” rules could leave tens of thousands of immigrants ineligible for green cards

Photo: Mario Tama, Getty Images
... The idea of requiring immigrants to be self-sufficient is not a new one, as "public charge" rules go back to the colonial years of the United States. But the Trump administration is trying to redefine the way immigrants are screened in a way that's never been used before.
The current definition, which was signed into law in the 1990s by President Bill Clinton, defines a public charge as someone who is "primarily dependent" on government assistance. That means receiving cash assistance that makes up more than half of their income, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), state and local cash assistance, and long-term medical care at government expense.
The new regulations would also consider "non-cash" benefits, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (known as food stamps), Section 8 housing and rental assistance, Medicare Part D prescription drug benefits, and Medicaid in non-emergency situations.
The new rules also grant broad discretion to immigration officials to determine whether someone may become a public charge in the future. Those officials could weigh a wide variety of "negative factors" including the applicants' age (specifically if an applicant is under 18 or over 61), health, education, work skills, income, and family status.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says the changes are necessary to ensure that immigrants do not take advantage of a generous U.S. system. The administration estimates the change will affect about 380,000 applications annually, saving U.S. taxpayers $2.3 billion a year by denying immigrants who the government believes may one day need public benefits. ...
Read the full story HERE.

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