New rules to deny green cards to many le­gal im­mi­grants

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - FRONT PAGE - BY COLLEEN LONG AND JILL COLVIN

WASH­ING­TON — The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion an­nounced Mon­day it is mov­ing for­ward with one of its most ag­gres­sive steps yet to re­strict le­gal im­mi­gra­tion: Deny­ing green cards to many mi­grants who use Med­i­caid, food stamps, hous­ing vouch­ers or other forms of pub­lic as­sis­tance.

IN­SIDE:

Gov. Wolf de­mands ICE halt prac­tice of sep­a­rat­ing fam­i­lies.

Fed­eral law al­ready re­quires those seek­ing to be­come per­ma­nent res­i­dents or gain le­gal sta­tus to prove they will not be a bur­den to

the U.S. — a “pub­lic charge,” in gov­ern­ment speak —but the new rules de­tail a broader range of pro­grams that could dis­qual­ify them.

It’s part of a dra­matic over­haul of the na­tion’s im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem that the ad­min­is­tra­tion has been work­ing to put in place, de­spite le­gal push­back. While most at­ten­tion has fo­cused on President Don­ald Trump’s ef­forts to crack down on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, in­clud­ing re­cent raids in Mis­sis­sippi and the con­tin­ued separation of migrant par­ents from their chil­dren, the new rules tar­get peo­ple who en­tered the United States legally and are seek­ing per­ma­nent sta­tus.

Trump is try­ing to move the U.S. to­ward a sys­tem that fo­cuses on im­mi­grants’ skills instead of em­pha­siz­ing the re­uni­fi­ca­tion of fam­i­lies.

Un­der the new rules, U.S. Ci­ti­zen­ship and Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vices will now weigh whether ap­pli­cants have re­ceived pub­lic as­sis­tance along with other fac­tors such as ed­u­ca­tion, in­come and health to de­ter­mine whether to grant le­gal sta­tus.

The rules will take ef­fect in mid-Oc­to­ber. They don’t ap­ply to U.S. cit­i­zens, though im­mi­grants re­lated to the cit­i­zens may be sub­ject to them.

Ken Cuc­cinelli, act­ing direc­tor of Ci­ti­zen­ship and Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vices, said the rule change will en­sure those who come to the coun­try don’t be­come a bur­den, though they pay taxes.

“We want to see peo­ple com­ing to this coun­try who are self-suf­fi­cient,” Cuc­cinelli said. “That’s a core prin­ci­ple of the Amer­i­can dream. It’s deeply em­bed­ded in our history, and par­tic­u­larly our history re­lated to le­gal im­mi­gra­tion.”

EVAN VUCCI / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Act­ing Direc­tor of United States Ci­ti­zen­ship and Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vices Ken Cuc­cinelli speaks dur­ing a brief­ing at the White House on Mon­day in Wash­ing­ton.

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