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Critics: New Trump Rule on Visas a 'Catch-22'

Immigrants will need to prove they can pay for own health care
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2019 8:15 AM CDT
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Stock photos.   (Getty Images/ALFSnaiper)

(Newser) – Immigrants hoping to find a place to the US will need to have an additional source of funding now if they want to get their visa. The Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal report that a proclamation was signed Friday by President Trump mandating that, starting Nov. 3, immigrants will have to prove that they have enough funding to pay for health care (or will be covered by health insurance within 30 days of arrival here), or they won't be given a visa and will be denied entry. Medicaid or insurance purchased using Affordable Care Act subsidies from the US government won't meet the insurance requirement. The mandate will apply even to spouses and parents of US citizens, though children, refugees, and those seeking asylum will be exempt. Lawful permanent residents and immigrants already in the US would also not be affected.

The Journal notes it's not clear how much funding immigrants would need "for reasonably foreseeable medical costs." The administration's reasoning for the rule: to keep US taxpayers from having to foot the bill for uninsured immigrants. "President Trump has taken action to promote immigrant self-sufficiency," the proclamation notes. Others see the move as a ploy to restrict the flow of immigrants. "It's [a] classic Catch-22 for low-income immigrants," says Larry Levitt, a Kaiser Family Foundation exec. "They're eligible for subsidized health coverage through the ACA, but applying for that subsidized coverage means they can't legally be in the country." On another visa front, the Hill reports Trump has given the OK for Poland to enter the State Department's Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens of participating nations to come to the US for up to 90 days without a visa. (Read more visas stories.)

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