Daily Caller

White House Approves Rule That Penalizes Immigrants Who Use Public Benefits

Jason Hopkins on August 12, 2019

The Trump administration announced a new “public charge” rule on Monday, which takes into account immigrants’ use of government benefits when deciding whether to award them permanent status.

“President Trump has delivered on his promise to the American people to enforce long-standing immigration law by defining the public charge inadmissibility ground that has been on the books for years,” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said Monday when revealing the rule change. “Through the enforcement of the public charge inadmissibility law, we will promote these long-standing ideals and immigrant success.”

Under the finalized rule, any individual immigrant who applies to live in the U.S. on a more permanent standing — which typically means a green card application — the applicant’s history of public benefits uses will be taken into account. Such programs being considered are food stamps, Section 8 and other housing benefits, Medicaid, cash assistance and other programs.

More specifically, the USCIS officer reviewing the case will look at an applicant’s use of public benefits over a 12-month period within any given 36-month period during their time in the U.S.

The rule change, which is expected to apply to hundreds of thousands of applicants a year, is part of the Trump administration’s long-sought effort to deter migrants who are dependent on government services from entering and remaining in the U.S. The number of immigrant visa details has already risen demonstrably this fiscal year compared to former President Barack Obama’s final year in the Oval Office.

Cuccinelli, however, made clear that the rule change is not meant to target aliens solely for being “poor,” and that many factors are weighed when determining an applicant’s request for permanent residence.

“President Trump’s public charge inadmissibility rule better ensures that immigrants are able to successfully support themselves as they seek opportunity here in America,” the USCIS chief said Monday. “A poor person can be prepared to be self-sufficient. Many have been through the history of this country. So let’s not look at that as the be-all and end-all. It’s not the deciding factor, which is why we continue to use the totality of circumstances test.”

Cuccinelli also went stressed the exemptions for the updated public charge rule, making clear that humanitarian-based immigration programs will not be effected. Refugees and asylums are exempted, and there are exemptions for trafficking victims and victims of domestic violence.

“To date, public charge has not been defined in statute or regulation,” a USCIS official explained to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Under our final rule, a public charge is defined as an alien who receives one or more designated public benefits for  more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period.”

The updated rule will apply to applicants who file after October 15.

Daily Caller

DCwire features investigative reporting syndicated with permission from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

View Comments

  • Ninth Circuit Judges ruin everything good for the Country, while protecting Illegal immigrants. Letting them by-pass immigration laws! They basically are told by Obama what to do, like Obama is still the President! ACLU uses the 9th Circuit as their personal guide to by-pass the Constitution.

  • All the more reason to Vote!
    All of the ballot- including those down ballot races, PARTICULARLY JUDGES!

  • Would they fight for America if invaded or war broke out?
    Are they willing to pay ANY dues for the privilege of living in the US?

    Invested Americans have the right to make these decisions - not political candidates looking for illegal support.

  • Look at Mexico's laws!
    Same thing, PLUS you can never own land - when you pass, your land can not go to family, etc - it goes back to the state. You can't ever get water/ocean front land. One infraction and you lose it all.

  • About time!!! In 1908, my Italian grandparents came to this country with sponsors guaranteeing they had a place to live, food and jobs. They also had to pass a health exam and have PAPERS!!! They never took a penny from our government, errr, taxpayers - NEVER!!! That's they way it should be - LEGALLY and independently, not dependent on hand outs.

  • The requirement that immigrants not be a "public charge" has been in immigration law since 1882. Point of fact, Massachusetts enacted that same requirement back in 1645. {Computer search is such a wonderful thing.}

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