The Trump administration is now reportedly attempting to change immigration laws to make it harder for legal immigrants to become U.S. citizens, reports NBC News.
Sources with knowledge of the plan told NBC that legal immigrants who have been on government welfare programs, including Obamacare, food stamps, children’s health insurance, and other benefits, will be among those targeted by the new laws.
The proposal, which would not need the green light from Congress, is part of Stephen Miller’s plan to reduce the amount of migrants who attain citizenship in the U.S. every year.
Immigration lawyers estimate that the changes to the laws could affect up to 20 million immigrants living legally in the U.S. and that the plan would mark the biggest shift in the immigration system in the past several decades. The changes are predicted to most affect working immigrants who are not making enough money to support their families and rely on government benefits to do so.
Louis Charles, a Haitian green card holder, is one of the immigrants who has already had their application for citizenship denied. He works 80 hours a week as a nursing assistant and relies on government help for his disabled adult daughter.
“I thought in this country everything was square and fair,” Charles told NBC. “I was devastated. And I’m not sure exactly why they did it. I did everything they asked me to.”
Charles is currently waiting to see if his green card status will be affected as well.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security reported on the new plan.
“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. 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.”
Miller, in addition to other congressional colleagues, has long made it his goal to reduce immigrant citizenship in the U.S. The White House began considering this plan back in February and a draft has already been sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget. However, even before the plan has gone into place, the administration has already made it more difficult for immigrants to obtain green cards and for green card holders to become citizens.
Immigration attorneys are set to push back against the public change rule and are cautioning their green card holding clients against seeking citizenship at this time, reports NBC.
The National Immigration Law Center made a statement concerning Miller’s proposal.
“Any policy forcing millions of families to choose between the denial of status and food or health care would exacerbate serious problems such as hunger, unmet health needs, child poverty and homelessness, with lasting consequences for families’ wellbeing and long-term success and community prosperity.”