The Trump administration is cracking down on green cards for immigrants who’ve spent more than a year on food stamps, Medicaid or other public benefits designated for low-income residents.
Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said Monday that beginning Oct. 15 any ‘individual who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36 month period’ will not be eligible for a green card.
Individuals who take two public benefits will see that time cut in half, he explained during a briefing at the White House.
‘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,’ he stated. Public benefits are defined in the rule as state, local and federal income-based assistance and some non-cash benefits. That includes Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), and most forms of Medicaid.
It does not include benefits for children and pregnant women like the National School Lunch Program or The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Cuccinelli said.
Medical assistance, disaster relief, homeless shelters and Head Start are not part of the rule.
The rule will take effect on Oct. 15 and Cuccinelli said that career officials processing forms will not consider certain non-cash benefits that migrants received prior to that date.
Age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, education and skills will all be assessed in the application process, he said.
‘No one factor alone will decide an applicant’s case,’ he said of the green cards.
Additionally, migrants that do not meet the qualifications will have the option to adjust their status to that of a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) through the purchase of a public charge bond that the government plans to sell for a minimum of $8,100 a person, and possibly more, depending on the individual’s circumstances.
Cuccinelli insisted that the new rule will ‘help promote immigrant success’ and ‘self-sufficiency’ of immigrants seeking to become Americans.
It’s that same ‘hard-working spirit’ that’s made the U.S. a beacon, he claimed.
Refugees and asylums seekers will not not be affected, nor will human and sex trafficking victims. An exemption for members of the military and their spouses will also be made.
The administration first signaled that it would seek to adjust the legal definition of a ‘public charge’ in September 2018 to make the standards for citizenship more rigorous than they had been.
‘Congress has never defined the charge public charge in the law,’ Cuccinelli said Monday. ‘Well that is what changes today with this rule.’
He announced, ‘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 becoming successful in America.’
Essentially, U.S. officials are seeking to isolate immigrants they suspect will be a burden to taxpayers by taking citizenship and the legal rights that come with it off the table for needy migrants.
Cuccinelli said that the rule update will merely ensure that existing law is ‘meaningfully enforced’ and puts into effect the authority that Congress has already given the administration.
A White House fact sheet revealed that the administration also plans to use the new rule to keep migrants from ever stepping foot in the country, if the administration decides they’re too risky, based on the updated guidance.
‘Aliens will be barred from entering the United States if they are found likely to become public charges,’ it says.
‘Aliens in the United States who are found likely to become public charges will also be barred from adjusting their immigration status.’
It claimed that non-citizens are abusing welfare benefits intended for poor Americans and taking advantage of the nation’s generosity.
The White House said that that 58 percent of all households that fall into this category are using at least one welfare program and half have at least one person on Medicaid.
Donald Trump has long sought to recast the number of migrants who are allowed to enter country through familial ties via a process called chain migration, where one family member living in America sponsors another, and another, and another.
The process creating a chain of people who might not have the kinds of workplace skills that a growing and industrialized economy warrants.
He also wants to do away with the diversity visa lottery system, that picks applicants for approval at random.
They’re heavily vetted by the State Department before they’re approved for residency. The president has claimed for years, incorrectly, that countries are sending over degenerates.
‘The people that are sent to our country are not the people that we want,’ Trump said earlier this year. ‘They come in through the lottery, they come in through chain migration.’