President Trump’s anti-immigrant crusade has a new target: green card applicants. The administration has just introduced new rules that would deny green cards to immigrants who utilize any form of public assistance, such as Medicaid, food stamps or housing vouchers. Also, applicants will be required to provide three years worth of tax returns as well as history of employment in order to be considered. These measures will go into effect in mid-October.
“We want to see people coming to this country who are self-sufficient,” Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, told the LA Times. “That’s a core principle of the American Dream. It’s deeply embedded in our history, and particularly our history related to legal immigration.”
Also from the LA Times:
Federal law already requires those seeking green cards and legal status to prove they will not be a burden to the U.S., or what’s called a “public charge,” but the new rules, made public Monday, detail a broader range of programs that could disqualify them.
Immigration groups have already vowed to fight the plan tooth and nail. Some activists believe that it intentionally blurs the definition of “public charge,” leaving that up to the discretion of consular officials. Another concern is that it would discourage immigrants from seeking out the public assistance programs they might need, for fear of being denied green cards.
A July 2019 Urban Institute study found that nearly one in seven adults in immigrant families reported that they or a family member did not participate in a non-cash government benefit program in 2018 because they didn’t want to risk their ability to get a green card as the administration considered this new rule.
Time also reports that Xavier Becerra, California’s Attorney General, said that the new measure is an “attack on families and lower income communities of color.” He threatened to mount a legal challenge to Trump’s initiative.