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Trump admin introduces new rule to screen out immigration applicants likely to depend on welfare

Conservative Review

The following is an excerpt from Blaze Media’s daily Capitol Hill Brief email newsletter:

The Trump administration has introduced a new “public charge” rule to cut down on legal immigrants unlikely to support themselves without government welfare.

Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) clearly states that prospective visa and green card holders are inadmissible if the individual “at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge.” Before that, Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz lays out, America had a long history of prudentially restricting immigration based on the potential that a newcomer might not be self-sufficient once admitted.

While the Trump administration has already been cracking down on potential immigrant welfare recipients, the updated version of the rule rolled out Monday morning will incorporate more types of public benefits that will be considered in the process and is an effort to “better ensure” that legal immigrants to the United States are “self-sufficient,” per a DHS press release.

“For over a century, the public charge ground of inadmissibility has been part of our nation’s immigration laws,” USCIS acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement. “Throughout our history, self-sufficiency has been a core tenet of the American dream. Self-reliance, industriousness, and perseverance laid the foundation of our nation and have defined generations of hardworking immigrants seeking opportunity in the United States ever since.”

Immigration lawyer David Leopold, however, told The Washington Times that the move is “a flimsy pretext to close America’s door to middle and working-class immigrants.”

The regulations do not apply to vulnerable populations seeking asylum or refugee status in the United States, victims of severe human trafficking, or victims of domestic violence applying for green cards under the Violence Against Women Act, per a USCIS fact sheet. Under the new rule, applicants denied solely on public charge grounds will be able in some circumstances to post a bond along with their application.

The rule will be dated August 14 in the Federal Register and will go into effect 60 days later.

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