Published: Tue, August 13, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump Admin to Block Illegals Who Seek Welfare Benefits

Trump Admin to Block Illegals Who Seek Welfare Benefits

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 group's executive director, Angelica Salas, calls the Trump administration's approach "cruel" and "unnecessary" with the clear objective of keeping "all "all immigrants out".

Who does the rule apply to?

The term "public charge" has been on the books since 1882 but has had relatively little effect on immigration because Congress already prevents most immigrants from relying on welfare programs, and because it requires most green card applicants have a financial sponsor. Notably, it'll affect people who are trying to obtain lawful permanent status, otherwise known as a green card. Under the new provision, any immigrant who lawfully accessed housing, healthcare or nutritional assistance could be deemed a "public charge". Federal lawmakers at the time wanted to make sure that immigrants would be able to take care of themselves and not end up a public burden. We have a long history of being one of the most wealthy nations in the world on a lot of bases whether you be an asylee or whether you come here to join your family or immigrating yourself. But the new rules outline a wider range of programs that could disqualify them. An immigrant's age, work, income status, health, and skills will be taken into consideration when weighing their application for a green card or citizenship. But few people are rejected on these relatively narrow grounds, experts said.

He added that it may not be the immigrants' fault that they were dependent on public services, but that it was a drain on US taxpayers nonetheless as a result of bad immigration policies that encouraged them to come.

Under the new rules, if an immigrant who is living in the USA legally receives both food stamp benefits and Medicaid benefits in a single month, that counts as two months of benefits.

It doesn't include benefits such as emergency medical assistance, disaster relief, national school lunch programs, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and food pantries and homeless shelters.

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Mark Greenberg, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, said the rule is a major overhaul of how immigration benefits have been granted since 1999, the last time "public charge" was defined. Receiving two public benefits in one month counts as two months, the final rule notes.

How many people does this impact?

Immigration activists expect the new rules to be challenged in court.

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles says the biggest toll will be on vulnerable populations with limited means.

Immigration advocates have also argued that the rule goes beyond what Congress intended and would discriminate against those from poorer countries, keep families apart and prompt legal residents to forgo needed public aid, which could also impact their U.S. citizen children.

Taveras said most immigrants seeking asylum or residency do not qualify for public assistance, but these new laws will send a message of hate. That's one out of four children nationwide, the foundation reported, and most of these children - 86 percent - are citizens. Officials say this will ensure that those who are granted access to the US can be financially self-sufficient taxpayers who aren't in need of federal entitlements.

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