Things That Matter

The Trump Administration Is Making It Harder For Low Income Migrants To Get Green Cards And Citizenship

The Trump administration has been guilty of using dangerous rhetoric against immigrants, and Latinos in particular. But in addition to the often times blatantly racist rhetoric, the administration has also taken steps to stem the flow of migrants from Latin American countries.

Until recently, the government was set on stopping undocumented migrants from coming to the US – case in point, Trump’s vanity project of the border wall. The government has also limited the ability of refugees to claim asylum in the US, threatening the safety, security, and literal lives of tens of thousands of people.

However, as of today, the Trump administration is also moving to limit legal immigration to the country by basically making their lives a living hell once they’ve arrived in the US.

On Monday, the administration announced a new rule that would severely limit legal immigrant’s right to public assistance.

The Trump administration released a regulation Monday that could dramatically cut the number of legal immigrants allowed to enter and stay in the US by making it easier to reject green card and visa applications.

Paired with last week’s enforcement raids on food processing plants in Mississippi, Monday’s announcement amounts to a concerted effort by the administration to limit legal immigration and crack down on illegal immigration.

The 837-page rule applies to those seeking to come to or remain in the United States via legal channels and is expected to impact roughly 383,000 people, according to the Department of Homeland Security. 

The new rule is set to begin on October 15 and will impose several new restrictions for recent arrivals and green card holders.

The rule means many green card and visa applicants could be turned down if they have low incomes or little education, and have used benefits such as most forms of Medicaid, food stamps, and housing vouchers, because they’d be deemed more likely to need government assistance in the future.

Under current regulations put in place in 1996, the term “public charge” is defined as someone who is “primarily dependent” on government assistance, meaning it supplies more than half their income. But it only counted cash benefits, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Supplemental Security Income from Social Security.

Officials can take into account an applicant’s financial resources, health, education, skills, family status and age. But few people are rejected on these relatively narrow grounds, experts said.

But according to the Trump administration, none of this is meant to target Latinos – which, of course, few people are believing.

When asked about whether the rule is unfairly targeting low-income immigrants, Cuccinelli said: “We certainly expect people of any income to be able to stand on their own two feet, so if people are not able to be self-sufficient, than this negative factor is going to bear very heavily against them in a decision about whether they’ll be able to become a legal permanent resident. “

On Twitter, this has been the general consensus:

As a defense of the its policies against undocumented migrants and asylum seekers, the Trump administration has often relied on talking points about legal immigration to sound compassionate and welcoming. The administration often says “we are a nation of laws“ and that if They’re followed the US is here to welcome you.

With this new regulation, the administration is proving that’s not true. And people across social media are not having any of it.

While many pointed out that this was flat out discrimination against the poor.

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump also issued a memorandum doubling down on a current law that requires immigrants’ sponsors to take financial responsibility for certain income-based government benefits the immigrant receives. It’s unclear whether enforcing the law would make any substantial difference.

Several immigrant’s rights activists and organizations are already threatening swift legal action.

Monday’s regulation is likely to meet legal challenges, but it could still cause some who fear retribution to alter their daily lives.

About one in seven adults in immigrant families reported that either the person or a family member did not participate in a non-cash safety net program last year because of fear of risking his or her green card status in the future, an Urban Institute study found.

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