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Buzzfeed reported on Monday that the Trump administration unveiled a new policy that will deny green cards to immigrants who use or are likely to use public benefits.

According to a filing of the policy in the Federal Register, this policy is set to take place in two months.

This rule was originally released this past September.

A step in the right direction, this move represents a solid effort by the Trump administration to curb immigration and is expected to face several legal challenges.

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Traditionally, the Immigration and Nationality Act enabled the government to deny permanent residency to immigrants who were deemed to be a financial burden on society or considered as a “public charge.” In other words, they’re relying on government benefits for financial support.

Under this new rule, the government has the power to determine if someone is a public charge, thus enabling officials to no longer give out green cards to “those who have used or will likely use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP food stamps); Section 8 housing vouchers and assistance; public housing; or most forms of Medicaid.”

Sarah Pierce, an analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, claims that “This rule is the administration’s attempt to unilaterally implement a broad immigration reform. It will likely shift immigration away from Latin America and towards Europe, while disproportionately disadvantaging women, children, and the elderly.”

Analysis from the Migration Policy Institute found that more than 4 million noncitizens were in families obtaining SNAP benefits from 2014 to 2016. According to the Department of Agriculture’s most recent numbers, more than 39 million people participated in this program in June 2018. However, there was no breakdown of these numbers by immigration status.

USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli declared “For over a century, the public charge ground of inadmissibility has been part of our nation’s immigration laws. 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.”

Although Trump has not scored many wins on immigration so far, this does look like a solid first step. He will likely campaign on this issue and further reforms based on how popular the immigration issue is among GOP voters.

 

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