Trump Administration Makes it Easier to Deny Gov't Assistance for Immigrants

They would likely face higher income requirements after the new rule takes effect, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The rule effectively circumvents earlier, failed efforts by the administration to build support in Congress for a similar "merit-based" overhaul to the immigrant visa system, and fulfills a longtime goal of senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller and other immigration hawks who have long sought new bureaucratic tools to reduce immigration levels.

The Trump administration announced a new rule on Monday that could curb legal immigration by limiting who is allowed into the United States based on whether they are "self-sufficient", according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

"While we can not definitively prove that the public charge proposal has caused these changes to SNAP participation, we identify an important correlation that, reinforced by anecdotal and survey evidence, suggests a chilling effect: eligible immigrant families are avoiding SNAP out of fear of potential immigration consequences", city officials wrote in the June analysis.

In May, Trump announced a broad plan for immigration "that protects American wages, promotes American values, and attracts the best and brightest from all around the world".

A new White House rule that requires foreigners seeking to enter the US disclose their use of public benefits would save taxpayers about $2.27 billion per year, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The Trump administration integrated rules that could deny government assistance programs, including food stamps, Medicaid, and housing vouchers for immigrants. The distinctions don't matter to President Trump. The definition of public benefits is cash aide including Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), most forms of Medicaid, and a variety of public housing programs, the fact sheet said.

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Under the new rule, applicants denied exclusively on public charge grounds will be able in some circumstances to post a bond along with their application.

"This news is a cruel new step toward weaponizing programs that are intended to help people by making them, instead, a means of separating families and sending immigrants and communities of color one message: you are not welcome here", NILC executive director Marielena Hincapie said in a statement Monday. Self-sufficiency, however, will not be the determining factor, he said.

These estimates take into account immigrants who may voluntarily un-enroll or forgo assistance from programs for which they are eligible in order to avoid being deemed a "public charge" which in turn could jeopardize immigration status.

"For over a century, the public charge ground of inadmissibility has been part of our nation's immigration laws", USCIS acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement.

"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", Cuccinelli said.

Critics have decried the effort to limit legal immigration for lower income people affront to the nation's ideals highlighted by the inscription on the Statue of Liberty that reads "Give me your exhausted, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free".

  • Sonia Alvarado