Published: Mon, August 12, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

US says will deny citizenship to immigrants who use public benefits

US says will deny citizenship to immigrants who use public benefits

It is used as a basis for admissibility into the US and as a determining factor when someone is trying to adjust their immigration status to obtain legal permanent residency.

He added, "It will also have the long-term benefit of protecting taxpayers by ensuring people who are immigrating to this country don't become public burdens, that they can stand on their own two feet, as immigrants in years past have done".

The rule expands the range of disqualifying programs to include receiving welfare benefits, food stamps, and public housing.

The overhaul is part of Trump's efforts to curb legal and illegal immigration, an issue he has made a cornerstone of his presidency.

He has pledged to build a wall along the USA southern border with Mexico - initially saying Mexico would pay for it - and has pressed for changes to immigration laws.

Posted to the Federal Register, the rule will take effect in 60 days.

Experts estimate that this rule, called the "Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds", is the most significant of the Trump administration's immigration moves and could cut legal immigration by half.

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Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) states that prospective visa and green card holders are inadmissible if the individual "at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge". "We must ensure that non-citizens do not abuse our public benefit programs and jeopardize the social safety net needed by vulnerable Americans", the White House said.

"Throughout our history, self-sufficiency has been a core tenet of the American dream", Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of the USCIS, said in a statement on the announcement. "Through the enforcement of the public charge inadmissibility law, we will promote these long-standing ideals and immigrant success". Advocates for immigrants have criticized the plan as an effort to cut legal immigration without going through Congress to change US law.

It is expected to apply to over 1 million Green Card and visa applicants within the United States and an estimated 13 million more overseas, Rand said. The final rule is scheduled to be officially published on Wednesday and slated to go into effect in mid-October.

Recently, the Trump administration increased the threshold for a category of legal immigration that was called the "millionaire's visa", E-B5, under which a foreigner can become eligible for a Green Card by investing a certain some of money in creating employment in the U.S. - from $1 million to $1.8 million, and from $500,000 to $900,000.

Among adults in low-income families, the rate was found to be even higher, with one in five (20.7 percent) adults saying they were too frightened to seek out benefits for fear of negatively affecting their chances of securing positive results in their green card or visa applications. The group's executive director, Angelica Salas, calls the Trump administration's approach "cruel" and "unnecessary" with the clear objective of keeping "all "all immigrants out".

The State Department already changed its foreign affairs manual in January 2018 to give diplomats wider discretion in deciding visa denials on public-charge grounds.

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