Yesterday, Trump’s new “public benefit” regulation was posted on the Federal Register, and the 60-day comment period began. PLEASE TAKE ACTION. You can comment as an individual. You can tell your friends and religious congregations about this travesty. You can tell your representatives in Congress that you want them to oppose the regulation. Click here for one action link or click here for another.
This regulation could be called immigration for the rich: it severely limits family reunification in particular, and immigration in general in a number of disturbing ways: making immigrants who receive a list of public benefits ineligible for permanent residence, emphasizing income and education level as criteria for permanent residence, and penalizing people for being too old (over 62?), too young (not yet working age), and for having chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes.
Below, you’ll find links to (and quotes from) some excellent articles and background.
From the Houston Chronicle:
“Imagine a couple like Dave and Sarah (actual couple, names changed). Dave is a U.S. citizen, born in Massachusetts. Sarah was born in South Korea and came to the United States to study medicine. They met in college, fell in love and got married. At this early stage in their careers, they don’t make much money. In fact, under the terms of Sarah’s student visa, she’s not allowed to work at all. Dave can sponsor Sarah for a spousal green card as long as he can demonstrate sufficient financial resources to support her — defined by Congress as 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (currently $20,575 for most couples without children). That’s an objective standard most couples can meet.
“Under the new public charge rule, however, Dave’s income alone won’t be enough to satisfy DHS. For the first time, green card applicants like Sarah will be subject to an entirely new and higher household-income test: as much as 250 percent of the poverty line (currently $41,150 for most couples without children). Remember, Sarah isn’t allowed to work under her student visa. The only way she can achieve a middle-class income is by getting a green card, but the only way she can get a green card is by having a middle-class income….
“Make no mistake: This is family separation, plain and simple.”
From the New York Times:
“The administration would remake the idea of self-sufficiency, admitting only those who never need to turn to the public safety net, but instead rely solely on “their own capabilities” or the resources of their families and private charity. It even asserts that people who use public programs “in a relatively small amount or for a relatively short duration” are still considered dependent on the welfare state.”
From NBC News:
“The Trump administration’s proposal to make it more difficult for people to legally come to the U.S. or to stay here could keep apart hundreds of thousands of married couples who don’t earn enough money.
“The administration wants to create an income test for people wanting to legally enter the U.S. or become legal residents.
“That test would generally give high marks to people with household incomes of more than 250 percent of poverty, about $41,150 for two people and $62,750 for a family of four.”
“Scrolling down the list of my primary care patients, I wondered who might be affected. A pregnant woman from Cameroon. An elderly woman with brittle bones from the Dominican Republic. A man with cancer from Ecuador. The Trump administration’s proposal to deny green card status to people who use services like food assistance and Medicaid threaten several of my patients with a harrowing choice: their health, or their immigration status.”
“DHS wants to turn more than a century of precedent on its head. Instead of keeping the current definition of a “public charge” as someone “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence,” DHS would start denying green cards and temporary visas to anyone who is deemed likely at any time in the future to receive any government benefit from a specified list….
“Remember, immigration officers have to determine whether someone is “likely to become a public charge” at any point in the future, and actual use of government programs is only one of some 15 factors that DHS wants to start scrutinizing….
“Then there’s the Department of Justice, which largely decides which permanent residents could be deported on public charge grounds. Historically, if you had a green card, this wasn’t something you had to worry about. But the Trump administration just quietly revealed that the Department of Justice intends to issue its own “parallel rulemaking” on deportability that would mirror the new and expanded DHS standards.
From Protecting Immigrant Families coalition:
“Building on the traumatic separation of families at the border, the Trump administration wants to block immigrant families from having a permanent, secure future in the United States and scare them away from seeking access to health care, nutrition, and housing programs.
“Our lives should be defined by how we contribute to our communities, not by what we look like or how much money we have. If this regulation moves forward, only the wealthiest immigrants could build a future in the United States. This regulation is part of the Trump administration’s ongoing effort to divide the country and vilify immigrants.
“The proposed regulation would make—and has already made—immigrant families afraid to seek programs that support their basic needs. The proposal could prevent immigrants from using the programs their tax dollars help support, preventing access to healthy, nutritious food and secure housing. Because one in four American children have at least one immigrant parent, this could impact millions. It would make us a sicker, poorer, and hungrier nation.”