On Saturday, the Trump administration announced its intention to make it harder for immigrants to remain in the U.S. if they use public benefits, such as Medicaid, public housing, or food aid.
The Department of Homeland Security’s proposed regulation would extend the ability of immigration officers to deny legal permanent residency or U.S. visas to immigrants if they have been in receipt of benefits funded by the U.S. taxpayer, including the Medicare Part D low-income subsidy, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as food stamps, Medicaid, and Section 8 housing vouchers. Officials in U.S. immigration have long been required to exclude immigrants from permanent residence if they are likely to end up as a ‘public charge’, but for the last few decades that has translated to someone who is largely dependent for their subsistence on the government, either through long-term care funded by the government or direct cash assistance.
The new proposal from the Trump administration differs from the 1999 guidelines, preventing immigration authorities from even considering non-cash benefits in regards to the determination of the eligibility of an immigrant to come to, or remain in, the U.S.
The new rules would apply to anyone seeking legal permanent residency or U.S. visas but are not applicable to those attempting to gain U.S. citizenship. Immigrants deemed inadmissible under the new rule will need to post a minimum bond of $100,000 to be able to enter the U.S.