Trump proposal would bring major changes to screening of immigrants
The Trump administration is proposing a massive, 447-page overhaul of federal regulations that would dramatically change the way the U.S. decides which immigrants are deemed a “public charge.” That new definition – if it goes into effect – would impact the applications of hundreds of thousands of immigrants trying to become legal permanent residents, the first step toward eventually becoming a U.S. citizen. Critics say the proposal goes way too far, punishing poorer legal immigrants for receiving even small amounts of government aid just when they need it the most. Lawyers across the country have been digesting the proposed changes, so here are answers to the most pressing questions over the proposed overhaul.
How is the definition changing?
The proposed regulations involve a complicated formula that vastly expands the definition of public charge to include any immigrant who receives varying levels of government aid. That includes cash programs scrutinized by previous administrations, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and state and local cash assistance. The new regulations would also consider “non-cash” benefits, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (known as food stamps), Section 8 housing and rental assistance, Medicare Part D prescription drug benefits and Medicaid in non-emergency situations. The new limits would apply to anybody seeking a green card, and many foreigners trying to get, or extend, temporary visas.
When will rules go into effect?
The government is set to publish the proposed rules in the Federal Register on Wednesday. That will kick-start a 60-day period of public comment, where legislators, advocacy groups and members of the public can weigh in on the changes, so it could take months for the new rules to take effect. The department is then expected to consider the public comments before issuing a final rule, a process that normally takes months to finalize, but could be sped up.
Proposed regulations involve a complex formula that greatly expands the definition of public charge.