Trump administration makes it easier to deny green cards to immigrants

Donald Trump

Trump has on multiple occasions alluded to the types of people that he would like to keep from coming to the United States (Africans, Haitians, Muslims, Central Americans, etc.), and those he would like to see more of (Norwegians), drawing frequent allegations of overt racism from Democrats and some Republicans. "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.

The Trump administration has pushed aggressively against undocumented immigrants arguing it favours legal immigration, which it has sought to overhaul at the same time to protect local Americans from being displaced, under the overarching vision laid out by the president, "Buy American, Hire Americans".

The new rule is derived from the Immigration Act of 1882, which allows the USA government to deny a visa to anyone likely to become a "public charge". But the new rules detail a broad range of programs that could disqualify them.

The new "public charge rule" has been in offing for months now and was previewed in the US Federal Register, the official government gazette, on Monday. "That is what changes today with this rule".

While the Trump administration has already been cracking down on potential immigrant welfare recipients, the updated version of the rule rolled out Monday morning will incorporate more types of public benefits that will be considered in the process and is an effort to "better ensure" that legal immigrants to the United States are "self-sufficient", per a DHS news release. The benefits would count in the aggregate, such that a receipt of two benefits in one month would count as two months, for example, the fact sheet said.

The regulation also excludes benefits for individuals in the USA armed forces, as well as their spouses and children.

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.

The rule requires career admission officers to assess at a minimum each applicant's age, health, family status, assets, resources and financial status, and their education and skills, among other factors, Cuccinelli said at the briefing.

"It will also have the long-term benefit of protecting taxpayers by ensuring people who are immigrating to this country don't become public burdens, that they can stand on their own two feet, as immigrants in years past have done", he said. On Monday, acting Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli announced the final rule, which makes it easier for green cards and visa applications to be rejected.

Cuccinelli was pressed on the Emma Lazarus poem emblazoned below the beacon to immigrants, which reads: "Give me your exhausted, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free".

Miller, asked in 2017 about whether the administration's policies toward immigration countered that American inscription, said the words were not original to the monument. Cuccinelli says he's "certainly not prepared to take anything down off the Statue of Liberty".

Applicants will now need to show higher levels of income to get a visa and the rule greatly expands the list of government benefits that would disqualify them from obtaining US residency. "Through the enforcement of the public charge inadmissibility law, we will promote these long-standing ideals and immigrant success".

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