Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
New Rules Can Deny Green Cards for Immigrants on Food Stamps
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 5 years ago on
August 12, 2019

Share

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced Monday that it is moving ahead with one of its most aggressive steps to restrict legal immigration, denying green cards to many immigrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance.

“We want to see people coming to this country who are self-sufficient. That’s a core principle of the American dream. It’s deeply embedded in our history, and particularly our history related to legal immigration.” — Ken Cuccinelli, Acting Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
Federal law already requires those seeking green cards and legal status to prove they will not be a burden to the U.S. — a “public charge” —but the new rules detail a broader range of programs that could disqualify them.
Much of President Donald Trump’s effort to crack down on illegal immigration has been in the spotlight, but this rule change targets people who entered the United States legally and are seeking permanent status. It’s part of a push to move the U.S. to a system that focuses on immigrants’ skills instead of emphasizing the reunification of families.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers will now weigh public assistance along with other factors such as education, household income and health to determine whether to grant legal status.
The rules will take effect in mid-October. They don’t apply to U.S. citizens, even if the U.S. citizen is related to an immigrant who is subject to them.
The acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ken Cuccinelli, said the rule change fits with the Republican president’s message.
“We want to see people coming to this country who are self-sufficient,” Cuccinelli said. “That’s a core principle of the American dream. It’s deeply embedded in our history, and particularly our history related to legal immigration.”

On Average, 544,000 People Apply Annually for Green Cards

Immigrants make up a small percentage of those who get public benefits. In fact, many are ineligible for public benefits because of their immigration status.
But advocates worry the rules will scare immigrants into not asking for help. And they are concerned the rules give too broad an authority to decide whether someone is likely to need public assistance at any time, giving immigration officials the ability to deny legal status to more people.
On average, 544,000 people apply annually for green cards, with about 382,000 falling into categories that would be subject to this review, according to the government.
Guidelines in use since 1999 referred to a public charge as someone primarily dependent on cash assistance, income maintenance or government support for long-term institutionalization.
Under the new rules, the Department of Homeland Security has redefined a public charge as someone who is “more likely than not” to receive public benefits for more than 12 months within a 36-month period. If someone has two benefits, that is counted as two months. And the definition has been broadened to include Medicaid, housing assistance and food assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
Following publication of the proposed rules last fall, Homeland Security received 266,000 public comments, more than triple the average number for a rule change at the agency, and it made a series of amendments to the final rules as a result.
For example, women who are pregnant and on Medicaid or who need public assistance will not be subject to the new rules during the pregnancy and for 60 days after the birth of the baby.

Photo of children holding signs in support of individuals picked up during immigration
FILE – In this Aug. 11, 2019 photo, children of mainly Latino immigrant parents hold signs in support of them and those individuals picked up during an immigration raid at a food processing plant, during a protest march to the Madison County Courthouse in Canton, Miss., following a Spanish Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Canton. Trump administration rules that could deny green cards to immigrants if they use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance are going into effect. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Green Card Hopefuls Will Be Required to Submit Three Years of Federal Tax Returns

The Medicare Part D low-income subsidy won’t be considered a public benefit. And public benefits received by children up until age 21 won’t be considered. Nor will emergency medical assistance, school lunch programs, foster care or adoption, student loans and mortgages, food pantries, homeless shelters or disaster relief.
Cuccinelli said the comments resulted in changes that “we think it made a better, stronger rule.”
Green card hopefuls will be required to submit three years of federal tax returns in addition to a history of employment. And if immigrants have private health insurance that will weigh heavily in their favor.
Active U.S. military members are exempt. So are refugees or asylum seekers, and the rules would not be applied retroactively, officials said. But the Trump administration also has moved to drastically reduce asylum in the U.S.
The administration recently tried to effectively end the protections at the U.S.-Mexico border before the effort was blocked by a court. It has sent more than 30,000 asylum seekers mostly from Central America back to Mexico wait out their immigration cases.
According to an Associated Press analysis of census data, low-income immigrants who are not citizens use Medicaid, food aid, cash assistance and Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, at a lower rate than comparable low-income native-born adults.

Critics Contend trump’s Words have Contributed to a Combustible Climate

In general, immigrants are a small portion of those receiving public benefits. For example, non-citizen immigrants make up only 6.5 percent of all those participating in Medicaid. More than 87 percent of participants are native-born. The same goes for food assistance: Immigrants make up only 8.8 percent of recipients, and more than 85 percent of participants are native-born.

“Without a single change in the law by Congress, the Trump public charge rules mean many more U.S. citizens are being and will be denied the opportunity to live together in the U.S. with their spouses, children and parents.” — Ur Jaddou, a former Citizenship and Immigration Services chief counsel 
The new public assistance threshold, taken together with higher requirements for education, work skills and health, will make it more difficult for immigrants to qualify for green cards, advocates say.
“Without a single change in the law by Congress, the Trump public charge rules mean many more U.S. citizens are being and will be denied the opportunity to live together in the U.S. with their spouses, children and parents,” said Ur Jaddou, a former Citizenship and Immigration Services chief counsel who’s now director of the DHS Watch run by an immigrant advocacy group. “These are not just small changes. They are big changes with enormous consequences for U.S. citizens.”
The new rules come at a time of increased criticism over Trump’s hardline policies and his rhetoric.
On Aug. 3, 22 people were killed and dozens were injured in a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, a border city that has become the face of the migration crisis. The shooting suspect told authorities he targeted Mexicans in the attack.
Critics contend Trump’s words have contributed to a combustible climate that has spawned death and violence, but Trump disagrees.

DON'T MISS

The Chilling Reason You May Never See the New Trump Movie

DON'T MISS

California Ranks Bottom Third in Overall Child Well-Being, Per New Report

DON'T MISS

Tempted to Try a No-Buy Year? Here Are Tips From People Doing It

DON'T MISS

‘Wouldn’t Be Where I Am Today:’ California’s Small Business Owners Fight to Save State Aid

DON'T MISS

Lauryn Hill, Tyla and More Will Perform at the 2024 BET Awards. Here’s What to Know About the Show

DON'T MISS

From Globe Trotting to Globe Tripping: Why Psychedelic Vacations Are on Trend

DON'T MISS

Find Out Which Lobbying Groups Get Their Way Most Often in the California Legislature

DON'T MISS

Here’s Why Ukraine Should Seek Peace

DON'T MISS

Fresno County Gets National Recognition for Poverello House Project

DON'T MISS

You Don’t Think Corn Dogs Are Haute Cuisine? These Chefs, Using Alligator Sausage, Beg to Differ.

UP NEXT

Tyson Foods Heir Suspended as CFO After Second Alcohol-Related Arrest

UP NEXT

Supreme Court, Siding With Starbucks, Makes It Harder for NLRB to Win Court Orders in Labor Disputes

UP NEXT

US Reporter Evan Gershkovich, Jailed in Russia on Espionage Charges, to Stand Trial, Officials Say

UP NEXT

Supreme Court Rules California Man Can’t Trademark ‘Trump Too Small’

UP NEXT

Drunk Driver Gets 15 Years to Life for Deadly Fresno Taco Truck Crash

UP NEXT

Rep. Costa Blasts GOP House For Holding AG Merrick Garland in Contempt

UP NEXT

AP Sources: 8 Individuals Possibly Linked to Islamic State Arrested in US

UP NEXT

NBA Legend and Logo Jerry West Dies at 86

UP NEXT

Shaver Lake Drowning Victim Identified by Sheriff’s Office

UP NEXT

Cold Stone Creamery Could Shell out Cash for Not Putting Pistachios in Pistachio Ice Cream

‘Wouldn’t Be Where I Am Today:’ California’s Small Business Owners Fight to Save State Aid

23 hours ago

Lauryn Hill, Tyla and More Will Perform at the 2024 BET Awards. Here’s What to Know About the Show

2 days ago

From Globe Trotting to Globe Tripping: Why Psychedelic Vacations Are on Trend

2 days ago

Find Out Which Lobbying Groups Get Their Way Most Often in the California Legislature

2 days ago

Here’s Why Ukraine Should Seek Peace

2 days ago

Fresno County Gets National Recognition for Poverello House Project

2 days ago

You Don’t Think Corn Dogs Are Haute Cuisine? These Chefs, Using Alligator Sausage, Beg to Differ.

2 days ago

Investigators Have Name & Face for Suspected Arsonist Who Left Notes at Fresno Homes

2 days ago

Gavin Newsom and Top Democrats Are Deciding California’s Budget Behind Closed Doors

3 days ago

Fresno State Is 1 of Carnegie Foundation’s 25 Leadership for Public Purpose Colleges

3 days ago

The Chilling Reason You May Never See the New Trump Movie

Opinion by Michelle Goldberg on June 14, 2024. This week I finally got to see “The Apprentice,” an absorbing, disturbing movie about the rel...

20 hours ago

20 hours ago

The Chilling Reason You May Never See the New Trump Movie

23 hours ago

California Ranks Bottom Third in Overall Child Well-Being, Per New Report

23 hours ago

Tempted to Try a No-Buy Year? Here Are Tips From People Doing It

23 hours ago

‘Wouldn’t Be Where I Am Today:’ California’s Small Business Owners Fight to Save State Aid

2 days ago

Lauryn Hill, Tyla and More Will Perform at the 2024 BET Awards. Here’s What to Know About the Show

2 days ago

From Globe Trotting to Globe Tripping: Why Psychedelic Vacations Are on Trend

2 days ago

Find Out Which Lobbying Groups Get Their Way Most Often in the California Legislature

2 days ago

Here’s Why Ukraine Should Seek Peace

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend