And older immigrants may be forced to stop participating in programs like Medicare Part D low-income subsidy, which makes available discounted prescription drugs, or risk being deemed a "public charge" and thus ineligible for legal resident status. It applies to foreigners who remain in the USA or if they have received any public benefits such as food aid, public housing or Medicaid in past or are likely to receive such benefits in future.
The Department of Homeland Security said Saturday that current and past receipt of certain public benefits above thresholds would be considered "a heavily weighed negative factor" in granting green cards as well as temporary stays. But immigration officials now are only allowed to consider families' use of public cash benefits and Medicaid long-term-care benefits in evaluating applications for legal permanent residency and legal entry into the United States. The "public charge" concept has a long history in immigration law, DHS noted, though the proposal would be a much broader take on it.
United States considers restrictions on green cards for immigrants receiving public benefits The Trump administration may deny green cards to legal immigrants, both living in the U.S. or just seeking to enter, if they have been dependent on certain public benefits, like housing vouchers, Medicaid or food stamps.
Since taking office, US President Donald Trump has cracked down on immigration, both legal and illegal.
Immigrants who receive more than $1,821 annually, 15 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, in benefits that can be monetized would also be disqualified from receiving green cards and visas. Legal permanent residents (green-card holders) who apply to naturalize as USA citizens would not be subject to the proposed changes.
"This proposed rule will implement a law passed by Congress meant to promote immigrant self-sufficiency and protect finite resources by ensuring that they are not likely to become burdens on American taxpayers", said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
The proposed changes would "promote immigrant self-sufficiency and protect finite resources by ensuring that they are not likely to become burdens on American taxpayers", she added. The existing version of the rule only lists specific monetary benefits.
The new regulation will be posted in the Federal Register in the coming weeks and a 60-day comment period will be open to the public before it goes into effect.
The agency estimates that about 382,000 immigrants per year would be subject to a more extensive review of their use of public benefits and potentially denied residency.
"How you contribute to your community - and not what you look like or the contents of your wallet - should be what matters most. This proposed rule does the opposite and makes clear that the Trump administration continues to prioritize money over family unity by ensuring that only the wealthiest can afford to build a future in this country", Hincapié said.