After a 5-4 Supreme Court victory and a scathing dissent from liberal justice Sonia Sotomayor, the Trump administration is rolling out a program designed to keep green cards from those that may be welfare dependent.
Per FiscalTies, building on existing federal law, the new “public-charge” rule requires U.S. officials to apply more stringent income- and wealth-based requirements to green card and some visa applicants, while giving the officials wide latitude to reject immigrants who they determine are – or could become – reliant on a variety of social welfare programs, including food stamps, housing assistance and Medicaid.
Under the rule, any immigrant who receives certain kinds of public assistance for more than 12 months in the previous three years will be ineligible for entry or permanent residency.
Officials can also consider other factors for each applicant, including age, language skills, wealth and education, and weigh those factors to determine the potential for welfare use in the future.
Justice Sotomayor was vehemently against the program but was outnumbered 5-4 in the ruling.
WashingtonTimes reports Conservatives have been trying for decades to create an immigration system that rewards immigrants who won’t be a burden on society and discourages those who will.
The Trump administration this week began enforcing the “public charge” rule, giving U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services the authority to refuse green cards — the key step on the path to citizenship — to people who have used a wide range of nonemergency welfare programs.
“The main reason this got done is because we have a president who is determined enough to make self-sufficiency matter again in a meaningful way,” said Ken Cuccinelli, who pushed through the rule as acting chief of USCIS and is now acting deputy secretary at the Department of Homeland Security. “That kind of entrepreneurial mentality is a natural for him.”’
Like most of President Trump’s other immigration moves, this one has survived an onslaught of court challenges, howls of complaints from Democrats on Capitol Hill and fierce opposition of immigration rights groups, who called it racist and elitist.
The administration said the vision of self-sufficient immigrants has been part of the American vision since Colonial times and was explicitly written into law in 1882, when Congress banned any immigrant who was “unable to take care of himself or herself without becoming a public charge.”
The idea was reaffirmed as recently as 1996, when President Clinton signed legislation giving officers explicit powers to deny visas to potential public charges.
Yet the Clinton administration issued guidance that took much of the teeth out of the law, saying only a few cash-benefit programs such as welfare checks would be considered.
Critics said that left immigrants free to collect food stamps, Medicaid and other “noncash” benefits and had long pressed for action.