Driven by Fear, Green-Card Holders Are Avoiding Government Aid, Advocates Say

The “public charge” rule has not gone into effect, but advocates say they have already been getting reports of immigrants not visiting health care clinics for fear of the repercussions.

The Trump administration’s proposal to deny green cards to legal immigrants using public assistance will make it increasingly difficult for low-income and working-class people to legally migrate to the United States.

Under the current immigration policy, immigration officials can deny green cards if applicants used cash assistance like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Supplemental Security Income, which helps the blind, elderly and disabled who have little to no income.

The new proposed rule change goes even further, to include past or current use of medical assistance, food assistance, housing assistance, and a low-income subsidy for prescription drugs. The change is a way to prevent immigrants from becoming legal permanent residents based on whether or not they use public support.

Advocates say they’ve been fielding reports of immigrants with free or low-cost health coverage not visiting health care clinics, a consequence of rumors that using such services will negatively impact their chances of staying in the U.S..

The administration also wants to create an income test as part of the rule for those looking to become legal residents or legally enter the U.S. The full proposal, titled “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds,” is published on the DHS website and can be found here.



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