The Trump Administration has once again gone through great lengths to make it harder for immigrants to become citizens of the United States. They are now proposing a huge 447-page overhaul of federal regulations that would greatly affect how the U.S. chooses which immigrants are deemed a “public charge.” If this dramatic change goes into effect, hundreds of thousands of immigrants trying to gain permanent residence in the U.S. are going to be impacted and effect their chances of ever becoming legal citizens.
This new federal law the Trump Administration is trying to enforce is to ensure that immigrants looking to become U.S. Citizens will be able to support themselves financially. But it can be argued that this new proposal goes too far and will exclude poorer immigrants trying to make better lives for themselves in the U.S. For generations our country has been a beacon for anyone to achieve their dreams and find a successful life in the home of the free, but it seems now it will be a home for the highest bidder.
The regulation is predicted to affect more than 380,000 applications annually as roughly one million foreigners are granted green cards every year. By changing the definition of “public charge,” immigrants are now facing new challenges. A public charge used to be defined as someone who is “primarily dependent” on government assistance. This means more than half of their income comes from cash assistance or are receiving long-term medical care “at government expense.”
Now the definition of public charge will be changing and expanding to immigrants that will be requiring government aid. These include cash programs like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and state and local cash assistance. It will also include non-cash programs like Section 8 housing and rental assistance, Medicare Part D prescription drug benefits, and Medicaid in non-emergency situations, and food stamp programs. The new regulations will help immigration officials deem whether immigrants will become a public charge as a U.S. citizen or not.
Although this proposed regulation to deny immigrant who might need government benefits as a citizen has the potential to save U.S. taxpayers $2.7 billion a year, it’s argued that this is discrimination against immigrants with low-income. The United States used to welcome in all people who were willing to work hard and build their success, but it will now only keep the gates open for those with big wallets.