Trump Administration seeks to curtail Green Cards for immigrants on public aid

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The Trump administration on Sept. 22, proposed rules that could deny green cards to immigrants if they use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers and other forms of public assistance.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Sept 22 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.

Federal law already requires those seeking green cards to prove that they will not be a burden—or “public charge”—but the new rules detail a broad range of programs that could disqualify them.

DHS is proposing to consider current and past receipt of designated public benefits above certain thresholds as a heavily weighed negative factor. The rule would also make nonimmigrants who receive or are likely to receive designated public benefits above the designated threshold generally ineligible for change of status and extension of stay.

The proposal “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 department said.

The 447-page proposal published on the department’s website will appear in the Federal Register “in the coming weeks,” triggering a 60-day public comment period before it takes effect.

Potentially disqualifying benefits include 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.