Kirsters Baish| The Trump White House is currently finalizing a draft regulation which would ultimately make it much harder for those using welfare to obtain a green card. The regulation will do this by broadening the definition of “public charge” in order to include more public assistance benefits. It is expected that the proposal will be released within the month, as reported by NBC News. On Tuesday, the network cited four sources with inside information on the plan.
Our country’s current immigration law labels green card applicants who are taking in cash welfare payments as a “public charge.” They are usually not eligible to change permanent residential status. It also applies to overseas immigrant visa applications. Any immigrant who is probably going to need government cash assistance is inadmissible.
Western Journal reports:
If the proposed rule takes effect, immigration officers would also factor in the use of several non-cash assistance programs when making public burden determinations. These programs include Obamacare, children’s health insurance and food stamps, according to the NBC report.
The Trump administration’s plans to expand the definition of public charge were first reported by Reuters in February. At the time, the draft rule stated that a person would be considered a public burden if they used “any government assistance in the form of cash, checks or other forms of money transfers, or instrument and non-cash government assistance in the form of aid, services, or other relief,” according to the document obtained by Reuters.
No more details were given by the Department of Homeland Security regarding what kind of programs the proposed rule that was described in NBC’s report would entail.
The Daily Caller News Foundation spoke to a Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman who stated, “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.”
It has been reported that the White House Office of Management and Budget has already been sent a draft version of the new rule. The regulation must be approved by the management office prior to being published with the Federal Register. Following a public comment period, the proposal can be modified or changed by the presidential administration. The rule could also be implemented just as it was written.
If the Trump White House does implement the proposal, there will likely be hundreds of thousands of people applying for green cards who will be placed under the expanded definition of “public charge.” Roughly 380,000 people who could face the new standard successfully changed to immigrant status during the time that they were already residing in the country in 2016, as reported by Reuters.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a 2017 report which found that immigrant households use government funded cash assistance programs at roughly 5.5%, which is less than a percent lower than native households, which sit at roughly 6.3%.
Western Journal explains, “However, households headed by a legal immigrant receive non-cash assistance at a much higher rate than native households, according to a 2015 study by the Center for Immigration Studies. An estimated 36 percent of immigrant households receive food assistance and 39 percent are on Medicaid.”
Compare this to roughly 22% of native households in the U.S. receiving food assistance from the government and 23% relying on Medicaid for healthcare coverage.