On Monday, Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of the Citizenship and Immigration Services office, told reporters during a White House press briefing that this policy "encourages and ensures self-reliance and self-sufficiency" for those who want to settle permanently in the U.S.
The Trump administration released a regulation Monday that could dramatically cut the number of legal immigrants allowed to enter and stay in the U.S. by making it easier to reject green card and visa applications.
FBN's Edward Lawrence on a new rule that would deny green cards to illegal immigrants likely to rely on government aid.
Detailed in a more than 800-page-long document, the measure would ask immigration caseworkers to consider immigrants' use of government benefits, including housing, Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), to determine whether they will be a "burden" on the country.
Cuccinelli argues that immigrants who have used these benefits can still advocate for getting a green card or legal status. They would likely face higher income requirements after the new rule takes effect, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The CATO Institute released a study a year ago reviewing the use rates of some benefit programs by immigrants and native-born Americans. The new rule could impact hundreds of thousands who immigrate to the U.S. each year.
"This news is a cruel new step toward weaponizing programs that are intended to help people by making them, instead, a means of separating families and sending immigrants and communities of color one message: you are not welcome here", NILC executive director Marielena Hincapie said in a statement Monday. Cuccinelli has announced the rollout of the Trump administration's widely-condemned "public charge" rule.
Mark Greenberg, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, said the rule is a major overhaul of how immigration benefits have been granted since 1999, the last time "public charge" was defined.
The Los Angeles-based National Immigration Law Center immediately vowed to file a lawsuit challenging the changes that take effect in October. "And the way you cut legal immigration in half is by kicking the doors out from the definition of 'likely to become a public charge'".
"As a result of our broken rules, the annual green card flow is mostly low-wage and low-skilled", he said.
Immigration officials can take into account an applicant's financial resources, health, education, skills, family status and age. At that time, immigrants submitting new applications for a green card or citizenship would be penalized for enrolling in public benefits, with certain exceptions made for active-duty military, their families and children.
The new rule may soon draw challenges in court from immigrants' rights groups and state attorneys general, which has become a common occurrence as the Trump Administration has attempted to crack down on both legal and illegal immigration.
The H-1B short term non-immigrant visa programme, that allows United States employers to hire foreigners either from overseas or those enrolled in American institutions of higher learning, had come harsh scrutiny over allegations its being abused and misused to replace Americans with less expensive foreigners, mostly from India.