Published: Mon, August 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

New US rule could disqualify half of visa applicants

New US rule could disqualify half of visa applicants

"It applies to anyone applying for an F-1 student visa, or an H-1B, or an extension of such temporary visas-plus applications for green cards by F-1 and H-1B visa holders", said Doug Rand, an Obama White House official who worked extensively on immigration issues and is the co-founder of Boundless Immigration, a technology company that helps immigrants obtain green cards and citizenship. Cuccinelli said this is necessary to make legal immigrants "self-sufficient and not reliant on the government to meet their needs".

Citizenship and Immigration Services acting Director Ken Cuccinelli (koo-chih-NEHL'-ee) says President Donald Trump's administration is not trying to wipe away the nation's longtime commitment to taking in immigrants in need.

Trump administration rules that could deny green cards to immigrants if they use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance are going into effect.

The ruling could impact some 22 million non-citizen legal residents of the country, and the estimated 10.5 million unauthorised immigrants, most of them-long-term residents.

Recently, the Trump administration increased the threshold for a category of legal immigration that was called the "millionaire's visa", E-B5, under which a foreigner can become eligible for a Green Card by investing a certain some of money in creating employment in the USA - from $1 million to $1.8 million, and from $500,000 to $900,000.

The rule will be dated August 14 in the Federal Register and will go into effect 60 days later. Immigration officers in recent years have defined visa applicants as a public charge if they are likely to become primarily dependent on government assistance.

The New York mayor's Office and immigration think tanks say just the anticipation of that provision already has caused large numbers of legal immigrants to abstain from seeking help through such programs - despite being legally entitled to do so - because they are afraid it will hinder their ability to become citizens or remain in the United States. "We must ensure that non-citizens do not abuse our public benefit programs and jeopardize the social safety net needed by vulnerable Americans", the White House said.

Critics have decried the effort to limit legal immigration for lower income people affront to the nation's ideals highlighted by the inscription on the Statue of Liberty that reads "Give me your exhausted, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free".

Cuccinelli was also asked about the inscription at the White House on Monday and said: "I do not think, by any means, we are ready to take anything off the Statue of Liberty".

Cuccinelli said no particular group should feel targeted by the measure.

Federal law already requires people seeking green cards to prove they will not be a burden, or what's called a "public charge". In the 2018 fiscal year, which ended last September, the number of visas denied on those grounds quadrupled compared to the previous year.

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