Things That Matter

Trump Administration Targeting Immigrants Who Use Obamacare And Food Stamps To Deny Green Cards

The Trump administration is drafting a plan to make it harder for legal immigrants who’ve used certain welfare programs — including Obamacare, children’s health insurance, and food stamps — to obtain citizenship or green cards. The new rule is part of White House senior adviser Stephen Miller’s plan to limit the number of migrants who obtain legal status in the U.S. ever year. According to NBC News, the proposal wouldn’t need Congressional approval and would be the biggest overhaul to the legal immigration system in decades. The administration’s reasoning seems to be that these legal immigrants are taking advantage of programs paid for by “American” taxpayers.

More than 20 million immigrants could be affected by the proposed plan.

Low-income immigrants would be hit the hardest if the Trump administration goes through with its plan. Under current immigration law, green card applicants who receive cash welfare payments are considered a “public charge” and are generally ineligible to adjust to permanent resident status. This also applies to immigrant visa applicants overseas — any potential immigrant who is likely to need cash assistance from the government is inadmissible. These rule changes may cause families to preemptively drop out of crucial services like healthcare or children’s nutrition programs.

Immigrants could be rejected from citizenship even if they are making 250 percent above the poverty line.

“The administration is committed to enforcing existing immigration law, which is clearly intended to protect the American taxpayer by ensuring that foreign nationals seeking to enter or remain in the U.S are self-sufficient,” a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security told NBC News. “Any proposed changes would ensure that the government takes the responsibility of being good stewards of taxpayer funds seriously and adjudicates immigration benefit requests in accordance with the law.”

 The new policy would exacerbate what has already been a steep decline in the number of green cards issued since President Trump took office.

According to NBC News, in the 2016 fiscal year, the last year under the Obama administration, 1.2 million immigrants became lawful permanent residents, or green-card holders, and 753,060 became naturalized U.S. citizens. Data from the first quarter of the 2018 fiscal year indicates that the administration is on track for a 20 percent drop in immigrants granted green cards.

Many fear that families will have to opt out of programs like food stamps as a result of the new policy.

An estimated 36 percent of immigrant households receive food assistance and 39 percent are on Medicaid. That compared to about 22 percent of native households receiving food assistance and 23 percent enrolled in Medicaid.

“One of our biggest concerns is that people who are eligible for programs such as health and nutrition will be frightened from participating in those programs that we know have immediate and long-term positive effects,” reads a statement from the National Immigration Law Center. “As a result, we will see people who have medical needs forgo services, and families will go hungry.”

The proposal is set to be finalized and released in the coming weeks. A version of the plan has been sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget, the final step before publishing a rule in the federal register.


READ: As Immigration Officers Trick People To Sign Deportation Orders, These Detainees Are Peacefully Fighting Back

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Barack Obama Says He Had To Quarantine With Malia’s British Boyfriend

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Barack Obama Says He Had To Quarantine With Malia’s British Boyfriend

If you’re not living alone in quarantine-life, you know that these months indoors have made it nearly impossible to NOT get to know the people around you better. Tight quarters and days on end together have made some couples and broken others. Fortunately, it seems for the Obamas quarantine has done the latter.

Former President Barack Obama shared the lessons he’s learned in quarantine after giving some very rare insight into what it was like in his family’s household during the beginning of the pandemic. According to Obama, the quarantine didn’t just include him and his wife Michelle. Or even just their daughters Malia, 22, and Sasha, 19.

Malia’s British boyfriend also joined in for the self-isolation period.

In an interview with Bill Simmons podcast this week, Obama opened up about his favorite part of COVID-19 isolation with his family.

“I think, [like] a lot of families, we went through that first month where we were playing games every night and doing little arts and crafts projects and then slowly, you know, they started to get a little bored with us,” he explained. “Maybe teaching Malia and Sasha, and Malia’s boyfriend who was with us for a little while, spades.”

The former president went onto add that Malia’s boyfriend is “British…wonderful young man, and he was sort of stuck because there was a whole visa thing and he had a job set up. So we took him in and I didn’t want to like him, but he’s a good kid. The only thing you discover—this is not a surprise to you, Bill, because you’ve got a son—young men eat. It’s weird to watch them consume food. My grocery bill went up about 30 percent.”

Speakingto InStyle last month, Obama opened up about his daughters’ personalities.

“Sasha is, as Malia describes it, completely confident about her own take on the world and is not cowed or intimidated—and never has been—by anybody’s titles, anybody’s credentials,” he said. “If she thinks something’s wrong or right, she will say so. When she was 4, 5, 6 years old, once she made a decision, she would dig in and couldn’t be steered off it. I write about it in the book, how we were trying to get her to taste caviar when we were visiting Russia. She was like, ‘Mnn-nnh. No. Sorry. That looks slimy. It’s nasty. I’m not going to do it—even if I’ve got to give up dessert.’ And that part of her character has always been there.”

“And Malia, she is just buoyant,” Barack he went on to share. “She’s somebody who enjoys people, enjoys life, and enjoys conversation. She’s never bored, which is a badass quality that can take you places.”

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Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation: A Road Map To What’s At Stake For Women’s Health And Gay Rights

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Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation: A Road Map To What’s At Stake For Women’s Health And Gay Rights

Photo by HILARY SWIFT/AFP via Getty Images

We are heading into day two of the confirmation hearings that will decide whether of not Amy Coney Barret will fill the vacant spot on the U.S. Supreme Court. The vacancy was left when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on September 18th.

The lead up to the hearings has been wrought with controversy, as it was Ginsburg’s dying wish that she wasn’t replaced until after the upcoming election. But President Trump and the rest of GOP hastily pushed through a nomination anyway.

Although Amy Coney Barret is a woman, the similarities between her and the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg mostly end there. After her nomination, media outlets quickly discovered that Amy Coney Barret holds extremely conservative personal views–ones that may affect her future rulings. Here is what is at stake is Amy Coney Barret is confirmed:

What is at stake: A woman’s access to a legal, safe abortion.

Barret holds notoriously conservative views on abortion, which she has previously stated was “always immoral“. In 2006, she signed an advertisement that called Roe v. Wade a “barbaric legacy”. When she was a federal judge, and ruled in favor of further restricting access to abortion rules. Namely, she advocated for a parent to be informed if their minor child wanted to have an abortion.

Some critics of her nomination argue that her extreme devotion to the Catholic faith make her biased against more progressive issues. What Democrats and Pro-Choice groups both fear is that Barret might side with overturning Roe v. Wade, thus stifling abortion rights on a national level.

What is at stake: Access to affordable healthcare for everyone–including those with pre-existing conditions.

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Considering the Affordable Care Act is on the dockets for Supreme Court review a week after election day, Americans who support the Affordable Care Act are worried that Barret will give conservatives the vote they need to cut the program.

Barret has dropped clues of her thoughts about healthcare in the past. In 2012, Barret signed a statement arguing that the Obamacare was “a grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand.” She has also previously argued that Chief Justice John Roberts loosely interpreted the law in order to keep the ACA intact.

What is at stake: Laws protecting the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination.

During the ongoing confirmation hearing, Barret has already said that she “would never discriminate on the basis of sexual preference”. Critics quickly took issue with her word-choice, arguing that sexuality is not a “preference” but something one is born with.

Her record on LGBTQ+ issues isn’t exactly promising. In 2015, she signed a letter entitled “Letter to Synod Fathers from Catholic Women”. Part of the letter read: “We give witness that the Church’s teachings…on the meaning of human sexuality, the significance of sexual difference and the complementarity of men and women…and on marriage and family founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman provide a sure guide to the Christian life.”

She was also was a legal fellow at Alliance Defending Freedom–a group that notoriously opposes LGBTQ+ rights. She has since denied she knew of their homophobic stances.

Considering that a high profile case is on the docket that will decide whether churches can discriminate against gay, it is no wonder that gay rights activists are worried.

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