Published: Tue, September 25, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

U.S. may restrict Green Cards to aid recipients in new crackdown

U.S. may restrict Green Cards to aid recipients in new crackdown

Give us your exhausted, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free-well, maybe not your huddled masses if they're poor, under a new policy being considered by the Trump administration that would deny green cards to immigrants on public assistance.

But the latest rules set out a wide range of non-cash public benefits that could be disqualifying, including food stamps, housing vouchers and the Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy which helps with prescription costs.

"Under long-standing federal law, those seeking to immigrate to the U.S. must show they can support themselves financially", DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said.

The Trump administration is seeking to expand its brutal treatment of immigrants, potentially denying green cards to legal immigrants who have previously received - or might receive - government assistance.

People have 60 day-time to comment on the proposed rule, which will mainly impact legal immigrants as illegal immigrants are not eligible for any government benefits.

The rule would go into effect after a public comment period, at which point it could be challenged in court. It could also prevent the more than 600,000 with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) benefits from obtaining permanent residency.

As NBC News previously reported, earlier versions of the proposal included more draconian measures, such as limiting green cards and citizenship for immigrants who had used Obamacare or certain tax credits.

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

The regulation would consider immigrants who use public benefits a "heavily weighed negative factor" to determine those applying to remain in the country permanently "generally ineligible for change of status and extension of stay", according to the DHS news release.

BREAKING: President Trump just announced a devastating new proposed regulation that would harm countless immigrant families & all of our nation's communities.

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

DHS said the changes contained in its 447-page proposal would primarily apply to those seeking admission to the United States or foreigners who attempt to apply for some form of residency status. It would affect about 380,000 people annually, according to federal officials, who said it is created to ensure that immigrants can support themselves. Even families that already have permanent legal status and would not be subject to the proposed rule are leery about receiving public benefits, experts say. The proposal would also allow some of those who are facing rejection to post cash bonds of $10,000 or more, and the bonds would have to be provided through a government-approved company. 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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