Trump Administration Poses Restricting Green Cards And Visas For Those Likely To Receive Public Aid

Trump administration proposes changes to immigration law
Alex Wong / Getty Images

President Donald Trump and his administration revealed a plan to restrict immigration further on Saturday. CNN reports that the rule was announced Saturday by the Department of Homeland Security. It would make those immigrants seeking to enter the country ineligible for a green card or visa if it seems likely that they or their family would be in need of public benefits.

The immigrants could also be denied the visa, or green card, or to change their legal status once they are in the United States if they have ever, or are likely to receive benefits like public housing or food stamps. Apparently, there is a monetary threshold that must be met in order for immigrants to be ineligible.

The proposed rule attempts to both broadly interpret and expand upon what is considered a “public charge.” A public charge is someone dependent on, or likely to become dependent on government, and the history of the concept is closely tied to immigration law. The DHS noted that this proposal is a much broader take on the concept.

If the rule passes, even with changes, it could potentially cause many immigrants to be rejected from entry into the United States, or force them to opt out of benefits they might otherwise be eligible for.

“Under long-standing federal law, those seeking to immigrate to the United States must show they can support themselves financially,” Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said in a DHS news release. “This proposed rule will implement a law passed by Congress intended to promote immigrant self-sufficiency and protect finite resources by ensuring that they are not likely to become burdens on American taxpayers,” Nielsen said.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen speaks during a visit to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency headquarters. Alex Wong / Getty Images

Those who oppose the law include immigration activists, who feel it would hurt the country long-term.

Immigration activists claimed the rule would hurt the country in the long run.

“Today’s announcement by the Trump Administration is a backdoor, administrative end-run to substantially reduce legal immigration that, if implemented, will hurt our entire country,” said FWD.us President Todd Schulte. “This policy will cost the United States in the long run by limiting the contributions of hardworking immigrants who could become legal residents, and no one is better off because of it.”

Many other groups have expressed discomfort with the law, which was proposed by Trump adviser Stephen Miller. Once it is formally published, there will be a period for both Americans and interest groups to provide feedback on the proposal. It is expected that the law will be formally challenged in court by advocacy groups.