Trump Administration Proposes New Limits On Green Cards, Visas

The Trump administration proposes new rules that could keep immigrants from receiving a host of government welfare benefits

US Agency Proposes Curb on Immigrants Seeking Public Assistance

The proposal will be subject to a 60-day comment period before coming into effect.

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.

The rule would expand the definition of a "public charge", or a person who relies on government benefits.

Trump came to power pledging to make immigration to the U.S. more hard and reduce the number of people allowed to stay in the country. Census data show the foreign-born percentage of the USA population is at its highest level in more than a century, according to leading demographers.

A newly proposed Department of Homeland Security rule would make it easier for the government to deny immigrants admission or change of immigration status if they're deemed "likely" to use a wide range of public benefits.

Legal immigrants could be denied a green card, which grants permanent residency, if they have received certain government assistance which they were legally allowed to access. It could also prevent the more than 600,000 with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) benefits from obtaining permanent residency.

Immigrant families in the spotlight
Immigrant families in the spotlight

Washington, Sep 23 (IANS) US President Donald Trump's administration has revealed a plan to block visas and green cards for immigrants to come to or stay in the the country if they or their family use certain public benefits.

The percentages of native-born Americans who get the same forms of assistance are almost identical.

Statistics from 2015 show that 3.4 million Americans born in the USA received cash benefits, while just over 22 percent used non-cash assistance.

President Donald Trump has disparaged such a system for facilitating what he calls "horrible chain migration" and wants to replace it with a more selective approach based on job skills. Previous versions of the regulation would have taken into account the use of benefits by an applicant's children, even those born in the United States, which immigrant advocates said would force people to pull their children out of needed health and food programs. Certain categories of immigrants, including refugees, asylees, and Afghans and Iraqis with special immigrant visas would be exempt from the changes, according to DHS. DHS estimated the proposed rule would affect about 382,000 people a year.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly 20 million children, 90 percent of whom are United States citizens, could be affected by the new regulations because their parents or other relatives would be forced to stop receiving benefits in order to maintain the possibility of obtaining permanent residency or an improved visa status. But immigration officials now are only allowed to consider families' use of public cash benefits and Medicaid long-term-care benefits in evaluating applications for legal permanent residency and legal entry into the United States.

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