The Trump administration aims to make citizenship more difficult for immigrants receiving public assistance

Immigrants who use public benefits, such as Medicaid, food stamps or housing assistance, may have more difficulty obtaining a residency card or U.S. citizenship under a policy change announced on Monday that is at the center of the effort of the Trump administration to reduce immigration.

The new policy of “Inadmissibility due to public charges”, which appeared on the Federal Register website on Monday and will take effect in two months, sets new standards for obtaining permanent residence and U.S. citizenship. The Trump administration has been trying to limit immigrants who could take advantage of tax-financed benefits, such as many who have fled Central America, while allowing more wealthy and wealthy immigrants to enter the United States.

Wealth, education, age and English language skills will become more important in the process of obtaining a green card, since the change seeks to redefine what it means to be under the immigration law of the United States.

The rule effectively avoids the administration’s previous failed efforts to generate support in Congress for a similar “merit-based” review of the immigrant visa system, and meets a long-term objective of Trump’s chief advisor Stephen Miller and others Immigration hawks who have always looked for New bureaucratic tools to reduce immigration levels.

The new norm, of the Services of Citizenship and Immigration of EE. UU., An agency of the Department of Homeland Security, focuses on the obscure definition of what it means to be a “public charge” or someone dependent on the benefits of the US government. UU. And who is “likely” to become one.

The probability of becoming a public charge is already a reason to deny a green card or the opportunity to become a US citizen.

The Trump administration will broaden the definition of public charge to cover not only those who rely primarily on public assistance programs, but anyone who uses a public benefit, including publicly funded health care programs, including Medicaid, coupons food, other programs related to nutrition or housing assistance.

The New York mayor’s office and immigration expert groups say that only the anticipation of that provision has already caused a large number of legal immigrants to refrain from seeking help through such programs, despite having the legal right to do it, because they fear that this will hinder their ability. Become citizens or stay in the United States.

But the new rule has a more dramatic impact on the number and demography of those who are allowed to emigrate to the United States through a wide range of new criteria to assess whether an individual is “likely” to one day be Become a public charge.

Factors that may count against a green card applicant include having “a medical condition” that will interfere with work or school; not having enough money to cover “any reasonably foreseeable medical cost” related to such medical condition; have “financial liabilities”; have been approved to receive a public benefit, even if the person has not really received the benefit; have a low credit score; the absence of private health insurance; the absence of a university degree; not having the English language skills “sufficient to enter the labor market” or having a sponsor that is “unlikely” to provide financial support.

Immigration advocates expect the rule to generate an immediate wave of lawsuits.

Forty-four House Democrats co-sponsored a bill in June to try to block the rule as it developed.

According to US law. UU., Permanent legal residents who have had green cards for at least five years are eligible to apply for public benefits.

But in New York City, where nearly 20 percent of the population depends on SNAP benefits to help feed their families, officials have discovered that twice as many “eligible non-citizen New Yorkers retire or do not enroll in SNAP ”that eligible US citizens, particularly in the last two years as rumors circulated about the next public charge rule, according to an analysis by the New York City Department of Social Services and the Office of Public Affairs Immigrants from the Mayor’s Office.

“While we cannot definitively prove that the public charge proposal has caused these changes in SNAP participation, we identify an important correlation that, reinforced by anecdotal evidence and surveys, suggests a chilling effect: eligible immigrant families are avoiding SNAP by fear of possible immigration consequences, ”city officials wrote in the June analysis.

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