Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Immigrants on U.S. food stamps may be denied green cards

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Melinda Barton | 25 September, 2018, 05:42

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data show that immigrants benefit from public assistance at almost the same rate as non-immigrants, according to a draft version of the new rule, distributed by The Washington Post. According to the proposal, using food stamps, receiving Medicaid, using housing vouchers or living in public housing could make it hard for immigrants to obtain green cards or get admitted to the USA, reported Time. "After DHS carefully considers public comments received on the proposed rule, DHS plans to issue a final public charge rule that will include an effective date", the agency said.

Current U.S. immigration laws limit those who are likely to be dependent on financial aid.

USA considers restrictions on green cards for immigrants receiving public benefits The Trump administration may deny green cards to legal immigrants, both living in the U.S. or just seeking to enter, if they have been dependent on certain public benefits, like housing vouchers, Medicaid or food stamps.

Immigrants who receive more than $1,821 annually, 15 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, in benefits that can be monetized would also be disqualified from receiving green cards and visas.

If the rule survives widely expected legal changes, it could mark a sea change that allows far more immigrants to be rejected from the United States or force them to choose to forgo benefits that they or family members would otherwise be eligible to receive.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a proposed rule that will clearly define long-standing law to ensure that those seeking to enter and remain in the United States either temporarily or permanently can support themselves financially and will not be reliant on public benefits.

The proposal will publish in the Federal Register in the coming weeks, according to DHS, triggering a 60-day public comment period. DHS estimated the proposed rule would affect about 382,000 people a year.

Inadmissibility based on the public charge ground is determined by looking at the mandatory factors set forth in section 212 (a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and making a determination of the applicant's likelihood of becoming a public charge at any time in the future. America's Essential Hospitals and other healthcare groups have been lobbying the administration for months to abandon or soften the public charge proposal.

Marielena Hincapie of the National Immigration Law Center said how a person contributes to their community, not the contents of their wallet, should be what matters the most.

Expressing its opposition to the proposed rule, FWD.US, which represents companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Dropbox, Yahoo and Google, said it "is a backdoor" administrative end-run to substantially reduce legal immigration that, if implemented, will hurt the entire country.