Published: Tue, August 13, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

New Trump rule would target legal immigrants who get public assistance

New Trump rule would target legal immigrants who get public assistance

The long-anticipated rule, pushed by Trump's leading aide on immigration Stephen Miller, takes effect October 15 and would reject applicants for temporary or permanent visas for failing to meet income standards or for receiving public assistance such as welfare, food stamps, public housing or Medicaid.

It is expected to apply to over 1 million Green Card and visa applicants within the U.S. and an estimated 13 million more overseas, Rand said.

"It applies to anyone applying for an F-1 student visa, or an H-1B, or an extension of such temporary visas-plus applications for green cards by F-1 and H-1B visa holders", said Doug Rand, an Obama White House official who worked extensively on immigration issues and is the co-founder of Boundless Immigration, a technology company that helps immigrants obtain green cards and citizenship. "Through the public charge rule, President Trump's Administration is reinforcing the ideals of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility".

The DHS estimate was far lower than an analysis by Boundless Immigration, a tech company that shepherds immigration through the US immigration system.

This rule will cover nearly 400,000 people per year whose applications to become legal permanent residents will include a meaningful analysis of whether they are likely to become a public charge or not. "If you're an immigrant, he believes you have no place in this country-even though, for 243 years, immigrants have made America the greatest nation the world has ever known", the former Texas congressman tweeted. The rule also puts a lot of power in the hands of US consular officials interviewing green card applicants overseas.

Wealth, education, age and English-language skills will take on greater importance in the process for obtaining a green card, as the change seeks to redefine what it means to be a "public charge", as well as who is likely to be one under US immigration law.

The new rule may soon draw challenges in court from immigrants' rights groups and state attorneys general, which has become a common occurrence as the Trump Administration has attempted to crack down on both legal and illegal immigration.

Recently, the Trump administration increased the threshold for a category of legal immigration that was called the "millionaire's visa", E-B5, under which a foreigner can become eligible for a Green Card by investing a certain some of money in creating employment in the U.S. - from $1 million to $1.8 million, and from $500,000 to $900,000.

Cuccinelli said Monday that USCIS had not determined a specific dollar-amount figure of what the potential benefit of this rule is to taxpayers.

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.

Cuccinelli argues that immigrants who have used these benefits can still advocate for getting a green card or legal status. "President Trump has delivered on his promise to the American people to enforce long-standing immigration law by defining the public charge inadmissibility ground that has been on the books for years", Cuccinelli said.

The White House for months has been promising to release legislation to reform the legal immigration system, although any such legislation has yet to materialize.

Cuccinelli said no particular group should feel targeted by the measure.

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