The Department of Homeland Security has announced the implementation of a new rule which will empower immigration officials to reject applications from aliens who have abused the U.S. welfare system.
The Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule has gone into effect nationwide, having received the green light from the Supreme Court following months of legal challenges.
“Public charge rule goes into effect today. A lot of hard work by [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services] to implement Donald Trump’s immigration policies,” acting DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli tweeted.
“The public charge rule helps ensure that legal immigrants who seek to live in America are self-sufficient, a long US legal tradition (140+ years).”
Public charge rule goes into effect today. A lot of hard work by @USCIS to implement @realDonaldTrump’s immigration policies. The public charge rule helps ensure that legal immigrants who seek to live in America are self-sufficient, a long US legal tradition (140+ years)
— Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli (@HomelandKen) February 24, 2020
DHS says it will now follow federal laws which have long been in place requiring the agency to review “an alien’s age, health, family status, assets, resources, and financial status, education and skills, among others, in order to determine whether the alien is likely at any time to become a public charge.”
“The final rule defines ‘public charge’ as an alien who has received one or more public benefits (as defined in the rule) for more than 12 months, in total, within any 36-month period.”
According to the rule, “public benefits” include cash disbursements, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as well as most forms of Medicaid and some housing programs.
Cuccinelli says applicants will not automatically be denied if they have accessed any of these programs for the prescribed period of time, but doing so will serve as “an important factor, heavily weighted to the negative.”
“Going forward, USCIS officers will now consider an applicant’s use of certain public benefits while in the United States — such as public housing, food stamps, certain Medicaid for adults or cash assistance — when determining whether someone is eligible to adjust status to that of a lawful permanent resident,” Cuccinelli explained in an op-ed for The Hill.
“Immigrants who seek opportunity in our country should do so in accordance with the longstanding American value and basic principle of United States immigration law and policy dating back to 1882, namely self-sufficiency. It is common sense — and in the best interests of our Nation — to ensure those coming to the United States can rely on their own capabilities and the resources of their families, sponsors, and private organizations.”
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