New Rule Could Punish Green Card Applicants on Public Assistance

Trump administration proposes making it 'a heavily weighed negative factor'
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2018 8:02 AM CDT
New Rule Could Punish Green Card Applicants on Public Assistance
In this 2015 file photo, pedestrians crossing from Mexico at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry wait in line in San Diego. The Trump administration is proposing rules that could deny green cards to immigrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers, and other forms of public assistance.   (AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File)

Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free—well, maybe not your huddled masses if they're poor, under a new policy being considered by the Trump administration that would deny green cards to immigrants on public assistance. As CNN reports, the Department of Homeland Security on Saturday proposed that current or past use of benefits like Medicaid, food stamps, or housing vouchers would become "a heavily weighed negative factor" in determining who gets a green card or a temporary stay. The AP notes that federal law already mandates that immigrants prove they won't be a "public charge," though use of public assistance wasn't a disqualifier; the Trump administration, vis a vis Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen, frames the move as "(implementing) a law passed by Congress intended to promote immigrant self-sufficiency."

The proposal—which includes Medicare Part D prescription drugs, Medicaid with some exceptions for emergency services, and disability services related to education, food stamps, and Section 8 housing vouchers—was predictably unpopular among immigration activists. President Todd Schulte called it "a backdoor, administrative end-run to substantially reduce legal immigration," while Marielena Hincapié of the National Immigration Law Center accused the Trump administration of prioritizing "money over family unity by ensuring that only the wealthiest can afford to build a future in this country." The AP notes that the move comes seven weeks before the midterm elections, and could galvanize voters on both sides of Trump's immigration crackdown.

(Read more green card stories.)

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