SAN ANTONIO, Texas. The Trump administration recently announced a new strategy to restrict immigration. Under the new proposed policy, any immigrants who use noncash benefits, like accessing public housing, or those who use food stamps, or Medicaid could be denied a green card under new rules. The New York Times reports that the new policy puts immigrants seeking a green card in a tough position where they may be forced to choose between benefits like food and housing, and a green card, which can give them access to work in the U.S. The Times reports that immigrants who received Part D coverage under Medicare may be impacted.
If you are an immigrant, what does this new policy mean for you? If you already hold a green card, the Times reports that the new policy should not affect you. However, if you are in the process of applying for a green card, you may want to speak to an immigration lawyer as soon as possible. The law won’t go into effect until a public comment period has passed. Individuals who oppose the rule-change can submit a comment to the government. It is easy to do online. The government is required to read and respond to every comment. You can make a comment here: https://protectingimmigrantfamilies.org/.
The Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen is a San Antonio, Texas immigration lawyer who can review your case and help you understand your rights. Before stopping your benefits or starting new benefits, if you plan to apply for a green card or are in the process of applying for a green card, speak to an immigration attorney.
The government has always considered the use of cash benefits as evidence that an individual might be considered a “public charge.” However, immigration services have not, in the past, denied green cards to individuals who used food stamps or those who received housing benefits. The new rule is estimated to impact approximately 20 million children.
Is there any good news, here? Fortunately, receiving food stamps, health benefits, or housing benefits in themselves won’t necessarily automatically disqualify individuals from receiving a green card or permanent residency. So, if you received benefits in the past, but now can show that you are thriving and self-supporting, it is less likely that immigration services will view you as a person who may become dependent on government assistance. But, if you are currently using these government benefits, it may be wise to contact an immigration lawyer like the Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen, a San Antonio, Texas immigration lawyer.
In some instances, immigrants may be required to have $10,000 to show that they can be self-supporting. There are also some exceptions to the new rule, the Times reports. For example, asylum-seekers won’t be subject to the new rule and individuals who served in the military may be except.
Other factors that could be heavily weighed against a person applying for a green card includes a cancer diagnosis, a diagnosis of mental health issues, and heart disease. The new public charge rule has been criticized heavily by disability rights advocates. According to one disability rights advocate writing for the New York Times, the categories of people who can be deemed a public charge would expanded under the law to include people with serious illness. Individuals with disability are more likely to be poor. For many people with disabilities, most commercial health insurance policies don’t cover basic nursing care and assistance. Individuals with disabilities often rely on Medicaid to cover these gaps.
At the end of the day, many view the Trump administration’s proposed rule-change as an attack on the poor and an attack on the country’s most vulnerable immigrant families. If you are a citizen and believe this is wrong, please submit a comment before December 10. If you are an immigrant and have concerns about how the rule change might affect your ability to secure a green card, reach out to the Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen, a San Antonio, immigration attorney.