Trump administration introduces new rules for obtaining green cards
The initiative will affect people using social assistance programs
The Donald Trump administration is introducing new rules to deny green cards to immigrants with Medicaid health insurance, food stamps, real estate vouchers and other types of social assistance. This can make it difficult for certain categories of immigrants to obtain legal status in the United States..
Federal law already today obliges those wishing to obtain a residence permit to prove that they will not become a burden for the state and will not be in public care, however, the new rules, which were announced on Monday, contain a more detailed list of programs that may lead to disqualification..
Citizenship and Immigration Services will now consider social assistance programs along with other factors such as education, family income, and health status when considering U.S. legal status applications..
The new rules are one of the administration’s most aggressive initiatives to limit legal immigration. White House seeks to reform the immigration system so that the most attention is paid to the professional skills of immigrants, rather than family reunification.
The rules will take effect in mid-October. They do not apply to American citizens, even if there are immigrants among their relatives who are subject to these requirements..
Acting Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cucinelli said the rule change is in line with the president’s immigration agenda.
Immigrants make up a small percentage of those who receive government assistance, and many, due to their immigration status, are not eligible to receive it at all.
However, migrant rights advocates worry that the new rules will make immigrants afraid to seek help, and that immigration authorities may be more likely to deny legal status..
On average, 544,000 people apply for a green card every year. At the same time, approximately 382,000 fall into the categories to which new checks will apply..
Under the new directives, those in need of public assistance are those who are “more likely” to receive assistance for more than 12 months over a three-year period. If someone receives two types of assistance, it counts as two months. Medicaid, Housing and Food Assistance were also added to the definition.
Since the planned changes were announced last fall, the Department of Homeland Security has received more than 266,000 comments from the public. This is three times more than usual when the rules are changed in the department. As a result, some amendments were made to the rules..
For example, pregnant women on Medicaid or in need of government assistance will be eligible for an exception during pregnancy and for 60 days after the baby is born. Medicare Part D subsidies for the poor will not count as government assistance. Also excluded are juvenile benefits, emergency medical care, school lunch programs, adoption and foster care, student loans and mortgages, use of charity canteens, homeless shelters, and disaster relief..
In addition to information about previous jobs, those wishing to receive a green card will also need to submit information about taxes paid for three years.
Exceptions to the new rules are foreseen for active military personnel, refugees and asylum seekers. The rules will not be applied retrospectively.