A South Florida attorney said the Trump administration is making it harder for low-income immigrants to stay in the U.S.
On Monday, the administration introduced a new rule that requires immigrants applying for a change in their immigration status such as applying for a green card to prove that they are unlikely to ever need public assistance. The change will penalize applicants who rely on public programs including food stamps and Medicaid.
“They are going to try to do whatever they can to move to a merit-based system,” said Nicolas Aguado, an immigration attorney.
According to immigration experts, the government could review an applicant’s credit score, assets, education and private health insurance. The considerations are one part of an immigrant’s application for a new or different visa or residency status.
“This rule will cover, for USCIS, almost 400,000 a year whose applications to become legal permanent residents will include a meaningful analysis of whether they’re likely to become a public charge or not,” said acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli.
The Public Charge rule is the latest effort by the Trump administration to reduce the overall number of people coming into the country.
Last month, the administration announced asylum rules that require migrants to make an asylum claim in the country they are crossing on their way to U.S. before arriving at the southern border.
“There is a lot of fear in our immigrant community,” added Aguado.
The administration said a receipt of some benefits before the rule goes into effect in October will not count negatively against applicants.
One in seven adults in immigrant families avoid public benefit programs over concerns that it would make it hard for immigrants to get a green card