On August 12 the Trump administration announced it is moving forward with their plan to deny green cards to many immigrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers and other forms of public assistance, effective October 15, 2019. Federal law already requires that anyone seeking to become a US permanent resident or gain legal status prove they will not be a burden on the US.
Under the new immigration rules, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will now evaluate whether applicants have received public assistance and other factors such as education, income and health to determine whether to grant legal status.
Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, said the rule change will ensure those who come to the country don’t become a burden, though they pay taxes:
“We want to see people coming to this country who are self-sufficient. That’s a core principle of the American dream. It’s deeply embedded in our history, and particularly our history related to legal immigration.”
The new DHS rules will define a public charge as someone who is “more likely than not” to receive public benefits for more than 12 months within a 36-month period. If someone uses two benefits, that is counted as two months. The definition of public benefits has been broadened to include Medicaid, housing assistance and food assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Chicago Immigration attorney Mario Godoy criticized the government’s new rule to deny green cards and cautioned, “These new immigration qualification rules might frighten a newcomer who needs to ask for help.”
Migrants make up a small percentage of those who get public benefits, and many immigrants are ineligible for public benefits because of their immigration status, reports ABC News.
For more information about Green Card changes, please contact the immigration attorneys at Chicago’s Godoy Law Office fight for immigrant rights and help immigrants navigate the complex and numerous immigration policies, procedures, and regulations. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office at 855.554.6369.