New Trump rule would target legal immigrants who get public assistance

Latino immigrant parents

The widely condemned rule would effectively see the definition of who can be considered a "public charge"-someone who relies on government assistance through public benefits-expanded, to the likely detriment of certain low-income immigrants".

In addition, those already here and using public services will not be able to obtain green cards or United States citizenship.

Advocacy organizations and legal expertshave warnedthat the Trump administration's rule - which theNew York Timesdescribedas a "top priority" of Miller - could force low-income immigrants to choose between vital public assistance programs and the security of permanent residency. "It's not only a recipe for their success, but for America's success growing out of our immigration system".

New American citizens wave American flags after taking the Oath of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony in Newark, New Jersey, U.S., March 1, 2017.

Immigrant advocates have expressed concern the rule could negatively affect public health by dissuading immigrants from using health or food aid to which they or their children are entitled and would have a "chilling effect" on immigrants seeking help for their US citizen children.

15, if an applicant for a green card is deemed "more likely than not" to become a "public charge" for using Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance for more than 12 months in aggregate within any 36 month period, it will be weighed as "heavily negative factor" in considering the application, Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, announced on Wednesday.

The Los Angeles-based National Immigration Law Center immediately vowed to file a lawsuit challenging the changes that take effect in October.

The new "public charge rule" has been in offing for months now and was previewed in the US Federal Register, the official government gazette, on Monday. The distinctions don't matter to President Trump.

Detailed in a more than 800-page-long document, the measure would ask immigration caseworkers to consider immigrants' use of government benefits, including housing, Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), to determine whether they will be a "burden" on the country. "This rule directly challenges who Texas is today", Dunkelburg said.

Cuccinelli said the new rule would affect about 400,000 immigrants each year - and it won't affect those now seeking asylum in the United States.

"The principle driving it is an old American value and that's self-sufficiency", Cuccinelli said in a Fox News interview published on Monday before the White House briefing.

Cuccinelli argues that immigrants who have used these benefits can still advocate for getting a green card or legal status.

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. "We're simply making effective what Congress had already put on the books, so there's no reason for any particular group to feel like this is targeting them", he said.

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