Posted by 12 August 2019
If you are an immigrant who is a recipient of a government assistance program, you may find it more difficult to become a permanent resident or a citizen under a new rule announced by the Trump Administration.
Current law allows the federal government to deny permanent residency or citizenship to immigrants who are public charges or likely to become public charges. Under the Trump Administration, proposal, the term “public charge” is broadened to include anyone who uses benefit programs like Medicaid, food stamps, or housing assistance. Under current regulations, a public charge is defined as someone who is primarily dependent on the government programs. Immigrants who are in the U.S. for five years can apply for most government assistance programs under federal law.
Critics see this is a way to rewrite immigration law to prioritize high-skilled immigrants over migrants from areas like Central America. They say that this will prevent immigrants who need government assistance from applying for it. Supporters counter that immigration law should encourage immigrants who will contribute to the U.S., not be dependent on taxpayers for support. They say that the law already prohibits permanent residency for immigrants who would drain government resources, and that this rule merely clarifies that standard.
The new regulation will go into effect in two months barring any court challenges. Immigrant rights groups are vowing to file lawsuits to stop it, however.
Should immigrants to receive government assistance be denied permanent residency in the U.S.?