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DHS Rewrites Immigration Rule To Curb Legal Immigration

by Countable | Updated on 4.3.18

What’s the story?

An obscure immigration provision on the books since 1882 is currently being rewritten to curb legal immigration. Proposed changes to the "public-charge" provision would give individual immigration agents authority to reject a green card application for any immigrant who themselves or through their citizen children participates in many federal assistance programs.

A draft revision of the rule was leaked and distributed online. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking has not yet been published to the Federal Register. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notice states it will be posted July 2018, but it could happen any time prior to that date. Once posted there will be a 30 - 60 day public comment period.

What is the current rule?

Currently the law potentially disqualifies an applicant for a green-card if they are likely to be "primarily dependent" on public assistance -- either Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) or SSI -- or long-term care through Medicaid.

How would the rule change?

A green card applicant could be denied if they, or their citizen children, receive or have simply sought any of the following government benefits:

  • Various health benefits—including Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and the premium tax credit—but excluding Medicare

  • Various forms of nutritional assistance, including WIC and SNAP

  • Various forms of educational assistance, including Pell Grants and Head Start

  • Various forms of homelessness, housing, transportation, and utility assistance, including Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Section 8

  • Additionally, if an immigrant has a "costly medical condition" and does not have “unsubsidized health insurance” their application can be denied under the new rule.

  • Applications will be favored if applicants make over 250 percent of the federal poverty level, or $62,750 for a family of four. This is $12,000 more than the average for white, male, citizen worker and 60 percent of the American public.

  • 383,000 immigrant applications in 2016 would have been subject to the new public-charge test, according to Reuters.

Would anyone be exempt?

Yes. Here’s a list of some of the immigrants who would be exempt from public-charge considerations:

  • Refugees

  • Asylum seekers

  • Survivors of trafficking and other serious crimes

  • Self-petitioners under the Violence Against Women Act

  • Special immigrant juveniles

  • Legal permanent residents

What do you think?

Are these changes reasonable? Do you think some of the programs listed should be included in the rule and others excluded? Is curbing legal immigration the direction the administration should be taking?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: The Blue Diamond Gallery / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(34)
  • MinnesotaMom
    04/04/2018
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    So if the applicant sought - perhaps as an international student - a pell grant (its on the list) that could be used as grounds to deny a green card application? Because needing money for college is a sure sign that you what? Want to go to college? Got to keep those people out of the country. They might take jobs in teaching or social work.

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  • Hillary
    04/04/2018
    ···

    Is there no low to which this government won’t sink? When the European settlers came to this country bring smallpox, venereal disease, people who couldn’t figure out how to feed themselves or plan for the winter, and sick people who needed help the citizens of this land- NATIVE AMERICANS didn’t toss them right back out in the water. They helped and the thanks they got was that we killed them off, killed countless languages, killed off their food sources, raped their women, stole their land, marched them to awful patches of land for reservations and then went back and stole those for oil! Now we are the citizens of this land and when desperate people come knocking on the door we want to ignore their plight and just slam the door in their faces. What kind of people are we?

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  • RadicalModerate
    04/04/2018
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    Free market capitalism is an entitlement program for greedy people with limited capacity for empathy and questionable moral character.

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  • OlderNWiser
    04/04/2018
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    Putin’s puppy is destroying our country after alienating our allies and insulting anyone he can think of to distract from his corruption, his hatred, his xenophobia, his sexual assaults, his Islamophobia, his bigotry, his bullying and his idiotic isolationism. Why are our elected representatives watching him destroy our country? How did that fiddling work out for Nero? Get him and them that are as corrupt he has chosen out! Before it’s too late.

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  • Gale
    04/04/2018
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    First of all, this isn't even talking about illegal immigrants. This applies to legal immigrants as well. And it would prevent immigrant parents from getting aid for their AMERICAN CITIZEN children. Why would you make an immigrant parent choose between the parent's ability to remain in America and the aid their American children are entitled to by virtue of their citizenship?? Are the American children of immigrants second class citizens? Even if the kids are not citizens - they are our future citizens. Don't you want them to be healthy? In addition it is completely normal for new immigrants to require a period of adjustment. They may be working very low paying jobs while they learn English and adjust. Odds are they are working the kind of low paying jobs we want them to do because the rest of us don't want to do them. Agricultural jobs, heavy labor jobs, cleaning jobs. Is giving them a helping hand while they assimilate really so terrible? Frankly I have never understood the crazy notion that we should bring in only highly educated, high skilled immigrants. Those immigrants are going to take jobs Americans want and probably for less pay that Americans expect. That is what the corporations want. American workers should want low skilled immigrants so Americans get priority for high skill, high pay jobs. Wake up workers of America!!

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  • Karen
    04/04/2018
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    Finally the root cause of GOP’s hatred of immigrants. It’s all about money. They may grudgingly give help to “real Americans,” but not one cent to help those who seek a better life here.

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  • BeStrong
    04/04/2018
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    Our Country was founded by those who were prisoners of class structure, and religious persecution. Those who were brave enough to leave everything behind, became America. We are a melting pot of nations, whose promise comes from sacrifice and belief that we are that nation of dreams. This administration of privilege has never experienced what it is to dream of a better life, free from oppression and fear. *Thank you Grandfather Hodgson, British chauffeur to American small business owner, home owner, family man and WW1 vet.*

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  • MICKEY
    04/04/2018
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    I need to hear the “so what” factor. As in the numbers that say, “x% of GDP is spent on these government assistance and entitlement programs and x% of that is given to non citizens equaling x billions of dollars annually. Our objective is to get those funds back into those programs making it available for more U.S. citizens benefits overall.” If the argument for these reforms were presented in this light as opposed to we just want to stop brown people from coming in, the administration might have a leg to stand on. Ultimately curbing legal immigration is adding to the substantial workforce issue developing now. Where we have more people retiring then entering the work force, driving low unemployment numbers which looks good on the surface but industries are struggling to find a qualified workforce. This would support the urgent need to create an inviting atmosphere to encourage legal immigration to help refill the ranks and bolster our economy.

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  • Christine
    04/04/2018
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    Such mean spiritedness. I come from an immigrant family and I am thankful for all opportunities. My grandparents lived the American Dream and so have their children and grandchildren all contributing positively. They knew they could reach out if they needed support in this great country. We are devolving,what a shame.

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  • Tom
    04/04/2018
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    So people here believe immigrants should live off public assistance and not have a job, a way to provide for family, a place to live, just let them all live off taxpayers oh that makes sense

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  • Azrael
    04/04/2018
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    Do you know what happens when you forget where you came from? You’ll find out come November If you aren’t a Native American you are an immigrant

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  • John
    04/04/2018
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    No! Get rid of 45 and all his goons.

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  • Bernie
    04/04/2018
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    Socialism is an entitlement program for lazy, vapid theoreticians who wish to install themselves in positions of power promising utopia to the poor while exempting themselves from their own “benevolent” programs.

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  • ManfromNebraska
    04/04/2018
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    Illegal immigrants should not be eligible for government assistance. They don’t put money in so they should not get money out of the system. They steal money from those who have put money in but won’t be able to get money out due to illegals who have used it. We shouldn’t be paying for illegal immigrants to live off government assistance while Americans work to pay for them. Come legally, become a citizen and work, then you can benefit from it. I can’t walk into a business and expect them to pay me when I don’t work there. I would be thrown out for trespassing. It’s not about racism but common sense. Oh I forgot that common sense was thrown out a long time ago.

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  • Kelly
    04/04/2018
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    If you, as our representatives don’t immediately take some action to get rid of this buffoon in the White House it will be too late for our country. All he wants to do is isolate us. Then when Russia, North Korea, and China come after us, who do you think is going to be there to help us; not NATO countries, Not Mexico or Canada. So if I read this right we will take in people who are running from war-torn countries, people who have been starved and living in camps for two years trying to escape to the US, will come here wanting a better life but may need help with food and medical care when They get here, but they can’t have it if they want to come here??? I don’t know why this government thinks immigrants are a bunch of lazy people. Look around and see who has been on welfare for generations as US citizens born here. Immigrants are hustlers or they would’ve never made the two-three year trip here. They want to improve their life not sit on their butts and collect aid. If they need temporary help give it to them. They will pay us back ten fold.Rather than stopping immigration into this country, why don’t we deport a certain family named Trump and all his cronies in his cabinet. Then we could go on to continue to help lead this world instead of digging our head in the sand and letting the world go by, while our Grandchildren die from breathing chemical toxins in our air due to the rollback of carbon emissions, poisoned by the water they drink because of the repeal of the clean water act, Or die on our city streets, in their homes, in our parks, shopping centers, concerts, schools, from Extreme gun violence which this administration has no intention of curbing. The Republican Party was once a proud party, but is now a party of corruption, greed, self interest, and full of cowards. Cowards to let this happen. Cowards that run away and won’t run for another term because they will be losers, rather than doing in their heart what they know is the right thing-to push back on this president and his cockamamie ideas!!. If all of you quit and don’t stand up for what is right, you are stained not only in the hearts of your constituents but in the pages of history.This party and their members will be Haunted by their lack of moral actions for the rest of their life’s; if they have a soul left. I’d take a houseful of refugees from any war torn country before I would ever help someone associated with Trump... because it is the trumps that are the danger to our country, not immigrants!!!

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  • OldTimer
    04/04/2018
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    Yes. It is way past time for the immigration laws to be updated. This is something that should take priority. After all we are not in the 1880’s world anymore.

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  • Laura
    04/04/2018
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    The United States is a melting pot of cultures from around the world. You’d think a president married to a Ukrainian would have more compassion and empathy towards immigrants. Please stop the insanity of this administration and start the impeachment proceedings. I can’t wait until a new administration reverses all the dictatorship that has occurred that has absolutely no progressive legislation that is best for the people.

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  • Kathryn
    04/04/2018
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    What the hell!

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  • HockeyGuy
    04/04/2018
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    We need rules to curb the greed that the 1%ers promote and practice! We are a rich country, yet we seem to think that everyone starts off life on equal footing. WE DO NOT!!! I do not believe in massive hand-outs to the general public, but I do believe in fair opportunities for all people in our country. Strict socialism is not the answer, but obscene greed is not the answer either. Why can’t all of us help those who are desperate, regardless of their color, creed, religion, etc.???

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  • Leon
    04/04/2018
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    They are a good start but I don’t like the full list of exceptions. It should be very difficult to meet any of these rather than the 90%

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