A month ago, the Trump administration proposed a new regulation which can deny green cards and temporary visas to immigrants who primarily depend on public benefits such as food assistance, federal housing, and Medicaid by expanding the meaning of a “public charge”.
According to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, government officials have enforced a long-established federal rule which requires foreigners must demonstrate the ability to be financially self-sufficient, ensuring that they are not burdens to U.S. taxpayers.
The new rule could affect millions of poor immigrants who rely on government aid for food, shelter, and healthcare to choose between accepting public assistance or legally living or working in the country. This plan is part of a series of governmental actions taken by President Trump to restrict legal and illegal immigration.
According to current law, the acceptance of cash benefits (i.e. welfare, SSI, TANF, etc.) is taken into consideration when determining who is a public charge. The proposed regulation will require that immigration officials must recognize the use of government assistance as a negative factor for applicants who wish to remain in the country legally on a permanent basis. Those who are considered likely to rely on public benefits could be denied.
The following are considered negative factors which lead to a public charge according to the proposed rule:
- Current or previous use of specific public aid (i.e. food stamps, Section 8 housing, or Medicaid)
- Younger than 18 years of age
- Older than 61
- Have a health condition which interferes with work or academic obligations
- No private health insurance
- No financial resources to treat a health condition
- No employment history
- No high school diploma or college degree
- No education and skills to be employed
- Guardian of a few children or other dependents
- Poor credit score
- No ability to speak English
- Financial sponsor unlikely to follow through according to DHS
- Receive DHS application fee waiver
The government published a 183-page proposal in the Federal Register last month, which prompted a 60-day period of public comment from lawmakers, members of the public, and advocacy groups. The new rules could take months to become law.
For experienced legal services when filing green card or visa applications in Phoenix, contact Kanu & Associates, P.C. today.