Limiting Green Cards For Low-Income Immigrants

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In this Jan. 31, 2019, file photo, hundreds of people overflow onto the sidewalk in a line snaking around the block outside a U.S. immigration office with numerous courtrooms in San Francisco. (Eric Risberg, File/AP)
In this Jan. 31, 2019, file photo, hundreds of people overflow onto the sidewalk in a line snaking around the block outside a U.S. immigration office with numerous courtrooms in San Francisco. (Eric Risberg, File/AP)

With Meghna Chakrabarti

Means testing for legal immigrants. The Trump administration seeks to deny green cards to immigrants who could use government assistance like food stamps. We look at the reasons why and the potential impact.


Ted Hesson, immigration reporter for Politico Pro. (@tedhesson)

Jackie Vimo, policy analyst at the National Immigration Law Center. (@JackieVimo)

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. (@MarkSKrikorian)

From The Reading List

New York Times: "Trump Policy Favors Wealthier Immigrants for Green Cards" — "President Trump on Monday broadened his assault on the nation’s immigration system, issuing a new rule targeting legal immigrants who want to remain in the United States but whose lack of financial resources is judged likely to make them a burden on taxpayers.

"The new regulation is aimed at hundreds of thousands of immigrants who enter the country legally every year and then apply to become permanent residents. Starting in October, the government’s decision will be based on an aggressive wealth test to determine whether those immigrants have the means to support themselves.

"Poor immigrants will be denied permanent legal status, also known as a green card, if they are deemed likely to use government benefit programs such as food stamps and subsidized housing. Wealthier immigrants, who are designated as less likely to require public assistance, will be able to obtain a green card.

"Officials said the program would not apply to people who already have green cards, to certain members of the military, to refugees and asylum-seekers, or to pregnant women and children. But immigration advocates warned that vast numbers of immigrants, including those not actually subject to the regulation, may drop out of programs they need because they fear retribution by immigration authorities."

NPR: "Trump Administration Rule Would Penalize Immigrants For Needing Benefits" — "The Trump administration is moving forward with regulations that are expected to dramatically reshape the U.S. immigration system by denying green cards and visas to immigrants who use — or are expected to use — a wide range of federal, state and local government benefits, including food stamps, housing vouchers and Medicaid.

"The final version of the 'public charge' rule, which has been a top priority for immigration hard-liners in the White House, is set to be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday.

"Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, announced the move Monday morning. He said the purpose is to clarify existing law, which is designed to ensure that immigrants do not become dependent on the government.

"'Through the public charge rule, President Trump's administration is reenforcing the ideal of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, ensuring that immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful in America,' he said.

"The rule is set to take effect in 60 days but is expected to draw legal challenges from immigrant-rights groups and others."

Washington Post: "San Francisco, Santa Clara sue over new immigration rules" — "San Francisco and Santa Clara counties filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the Trump administration’s new 'public charge' rules to restrict legal immigration.

"The lawsuit is the first after the Department of Homeland Security’s announcement Monday that it would deny green cards to migrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance.

"In a filing , the counties of Santa Clara and San Francisco argued that the rules will worsen the health and well-being of their residents, increase public health risks and financially harm the counties. The rules, the counties argued, would result in a 'chilling effect' in which migrants forgo or disenroll from federal public assistance programs to reduce the risk of green card denial. This would mean that the cost of services would shift from federal to state governments."

Grace Tatter produced this hour for broadcast.

This program aired on August 14, 2019.



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