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Trump expands rules blocking green cards to people who’ll need taxpayer public assistance

Then-U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan briefs President Donald Trump about illegal immigration and illicit drug smuggling during an interagency meeting at CBP’s National Targeting Center in Sterling, Virginia, Feb. 2, 2018. (Jetta Disco/Department of Homeland Security)
August 12, 2019

The Trump Administration announced Monday that “green cards” could be denied more frequently to immigrants who are expected to use certain federal or state benefits as a result of a new change that will take effect in October.

Although current federal law already requires citizenship applicants to explain how they plan on self-sufficiency and avoiding becoming a “public charge” using assistance programs, the new change expands the range of programs that could disqualify applicants, the Associated Press reported Monday.

The change takes place in October, and will include the assistance programs such as food stamps, Medicaid, Housing Vouchers and certain other forms of public assistance as a disqualifier for legal status.

The acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ken Cuccinelli, told the Associated Press that the rule change fits with President Trump’s core message on immigration.

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“We want to see people coming to this country who are self-sufficient,” Cuccinelli said. “That’s a core principle of the American Dream. It’s deeply embedded in our history, and particularly our history related to legal immigration.”

In step with nine European countries who require specific self-sustenance, the United States is updating the system to focus on immigrants’ skills instead of emphasizing the reunification of families, as it has done in the recent past.

The nine European countries – including the U.K., Austria and Germany – base admission to political citizenship upon the payment of substantial fees or proof of a certain degree of economic self-sufficiency.
Thus, if not acquired by birth, civic membership depends on the economic performance of an individual.

The nuanced difference in this move by the Trump Administration is that rather than targeting illegal immigrants, this rule affects legal immigrants.