The Trump administration is taking a harder stance on immigrants that might rely on public assistance. The federal government unveiled a new rule on Monday that rejects applicants for temporary or permanent visas if they fail to meet income standards or are likely to receive public assistance such as welfare, food stamps, public housing or Medicaid.
The move could cut deny immigration to hundreds of thousands of applicants each year, most of which come to the country as family members of people already here.
Such a change would ensure that immigrants “are self-sufficient,” in that they “do not depend on public resources to meet their needs, but rather rely on their own capabilities, as well as the resources of family members, sponsors, and private organizations,” a notice published in the Federal Register said.
Given the number of applicants that could be denied under the new interpretation of the Immigration Act of 1882, this could be the most dramatic change to immigration that the Trump administration has undertaken.
Most nonresident immigrants are ineligible for the major aid programs until they get green cards, but the new rule published by the Department of Homeland Security expands the definition of a public charge that stands to disqualify more people.
Applicants will now need to show higher levels of income to get a visa, and the rule greatly expands the list of government benefits that would disqualify them from obtaining U.S. residency.