And now, for your daily dose of immigrant cruelty courtesy of the Trump administration.
In 60 days, new regulations will go into effect in the US aimed at penalizing immigrants who rely on public assistance, such as food stamps, Medicaid and government housing programs.
This has been a long time coming, but that doesn’t make it any less egregious and certainly won’t mute the public outcry. The rule, embedded in full below, will make it much more difficult for low-income immigrants and those who are undereducated, to get visas and green cards. Here’s the gist of it:
Since 1999, the prevailing approach to public charge inadmissibility has been dictated primarily by the May 26, 1999, Field Guidance on Deportability and Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds (1999 Interim Field Guidance), issued by the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).8 Under that approach, “public charge” has been interpreted to mean a person who is “primarily dependent on the Government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance or institutionalization for long-term care at Government expense.”9 As a consequence, an alien’s reliance on or receipt of non-cash benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps; Medicaid; and housing vouchers and other housing subsidies are not currently considered by DHS in determining whether an alien is deemed likely at any time to become a public charge. DHS is revising its interpretation of “public charge” to incorporate consideration of such benefits, and to better ensure that aliens subject to the public charge inadmissibility ground are self-sufficient.
The so-called “public charge” rule has been at the top of Stephen Miller’s list when it comes to what the immigration hardliner wants pushed through in pursuit of his broader agenda, which seeks to reshape the country’s immigration system in the image of Trump’s overtly xenophobic campaign rhetoric.
“L. Francis Cissna, the former director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, had resisted the rush to finish the rule, drafts of which were several hundred pages long and very complicated”, The New York Times writes. It’s no surprise that the rule was finished under Cissna’s successor Ken Cuccinelli, who the Times reminds you is “an immigration hard-liner who shares Miller’s view that immigrants are a drain on taxpayer dollars”.
Cuccinelli spoke to the press on Monday. Here’s the clip:
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Effectively, the new rule will allow the administration to try and dictate the composition of the immigrant population going forward. As Axios notes, rehashing one of the major criticisms of the rule, it will “also likely create a ‘chilling effect’ on immigrants who are eligible to use certain public benefit programs, but choose not to out of fear of being penalized”.
Additionally, immigrants who are already in the country will now likely find it harder to become citizens if they’ve ever used social safety net programs.
“The policy could dramatically reduce family-based legal immigration to the US, particularly from Mexico, Central America and Africa, where economies have been suffering and incomes are lower”, WaPo writes, underlining the thrust of the effort.
“This final rule amends DHS regulations by prescribing how DHS will determine whether an alien applying for admission or adjustment of status is inadmissible to the United States, because he or she is likely at any time to become a public charge”, the rule states. “The final rule includes definitions of certain terms critical to the public charge determination, such as ‘public charge’ and ‘public benefit’, which are not defined in the statute, and explains the factors DHS will consider in the totality of the circumstances when making a public charge inadmissibility determination”.
This was opposed by tens of thousands of people during the comment period, something the government acknowledged when the rule was published in the federal register.
The administration will doubtlessly be sued.