The Trump administration announced a new rule Monday that would make it harder for documented, low-income immigrants to stay in the country. The so-called public charge rule would penalize immigrants seeking benefits including Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers by allowing officials to deny green cards and visa applications to those individuals. In addition, immigrants who have lower incomes or less formal education could be denied permanent status if deemed more likely to need public assistance in the future.
Experts say the new rule would severely impact family-based immigration from countries in Latin America and Africa and could lead to more deportations of immigrants with temporary or provisional immigration status that are already settled in the U.S. but do not meet the new requirements. Critics also say immigrants could disenroll from essential programs that protect children and families.
Acting Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Kenneth Cuccinelli announced the rule at the White House.
Kenneth Cuccinelli: “Through the public charge rule, President Trump’s administration is reinforcing the ideals of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, ensuring that immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful here in America. Our rule generally prevents aliens who are likely to become a public charge from coming to the United States or remaining here and getting a green card.”
Steve Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, responded to the announcement, saying, “This rule essentially says that for anyone who isn’t white, isn’t wealthy, that you must forego food, you must forego shelter and basic medical care.” The National Immigration Law Center, as well as attorneys general in California and other states, have announced they will challenge the rule, which for now is set to go into effect in October.