Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Trump targets legal immigrants

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”- The Statue of Liberty

American nationalism has imposed yet another barrier on the path of those who seek to permanently settle in the United States. Trump is making it more difficult for less affluent people to obtain legal US residency - or perhaps even enter the country at all.

A rule change means immigrants using public benefits could be disqualified from receiving a green card or citizenship. The re-writing of the rules could impact the 22 million legal residents who are not yet citizens, as well as an estimated 10.5 million unauthorized immigrants who are long-term residents.

The Trump's administration announced a new set of rules aimed at blocking legal immigrants who need public assistance from receiving permanent residency or citizenship. In order to apply for a green card (a permanent residency permit) or citizenship, applicants must prove that they are not a "public charge" or burden on the state.
The new rules expand the definition of a "public charge" to include someone who is "more likely than not" to receive public benefits during a 36-month period.

Under the new regulations, this means that immigrants using the government-run health program Medicaid, housing assistance, food stamps or other public benefits for a certain period of time will be disqualified. Immigrants who are seeking to come to the US legally will also be blocked from entering the country if they are deemed likely to need public assistance.

"We want to see people coming to this country who are self-sufficient," Ken Cuccinelli, acting Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, said.
"To protect benefits for American citizens, immigrants must be financially self-sufficient," a White House statement read.

Civil rights groups have said the move unfairly targets low-income immigrants.

The National Immigration Law Center called the new rules an attempt to redefine the legal immigration system “in order to disenfranchise communities of color and favor the wealthy”.

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