The implement of the long awaited “public charge” rules by the Trump administration that restricts green cards for immigrants deemed likely to be reliant on welfare goes into effect today, a rule furiously opposed by Democrats, but one that officials argue will protect taxpayers and align with American principles.
Acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli told Fox News, “it’s not something we want to do but it is consistent with our law for over 140 years. And it’s just plain old logic, what country wants to bring welfare problems into its society? ” He also said, “We’re happy to open our doors to people from all over the world but we expect them to stand on their own two feet.”
The rule, which was passed in August and to go into effect in October by the Trump Administration, was blocked amid a series of court challenges. The Supreme Court lifted preliminary injunctions in January in a 5-4 vote. It ruled the same way on a separate injunction for the state of Illinois on Friday, allowing the rule to go into effect across the country on Monday February 24, 2020.
While a “public charge” standard is already part of U.S. immigration law, and immigrants have regularly had to provide documents to demonstrate self-sufficiency, the standard has been lacking a formal statutory definition.
The new rule defines a “public charge” as an immigrant who received one or more designated benefits for more than 12 months in a 36-month period. Those benefits that would be designated included Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), as well as most forms of Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement Friday, “This final rule will protect hardworking American taxpayers, safeguard welfare programs for truly needy Americans, reduce the Federal deficit, and re-establish the fundamental legal principle that newcomers to our society should be financially self-reliant and not dependent on the largess of United States taxpayers.”
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