Trump administration makes it easier to deny green cards to immigrants

US seeks to curtail green cards for immigrants on public aid

"It applies to anyone applying for an F-1 student visa, or an H-1B, or an extension of such temporary visas-plus applications for green cards by F-1 and H-1B visa holders", said Doug Rand, an Obama White House official who worked extensively on immigration issues and is the co-founder of Boundless Immigration, a technology company that helps immigrants obtain green cards and citizenship.

Making it tougher for legal immigrants to become United States citizens, the Trump administration on Monday said that those seeking public benefits like food stamp or housing assistance could be denied a green card, a step below the American citizenship.

"It will also have the long-term benefit of protecting taxpayers by ensuring people who are immigrating to this country don't become public burdens, that they can stand on their own two feet, as immigrants in years past have done", he said.

"The principle driving it is an old American value and that's self-sufficiency", Cuccinelli said in a Fox News interview published on Monday before the White House briefing.

The rule effectively circumvents earlier, failed efforts by the administration to build support in Congress for a similar "merit-based" overhaul to the immigrant visa system, and fulfills a longtime goal of senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller and other immigration hawks who have long sought new bureaucratic tools to reduce immigration levels.

He has pledged to build a wall along the USA southern border with Mexico - initially saying Mexico would pay for it - and has pressed for changes to immigration laws. Immigration officers in recent years have defined visa applicants as a public charge if they are likely to become primarily dependent on government assistance.

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U.S. President Donald Trump's administration unveiled a new rule on Monday that could deny visas and permanent residency to hundreds of thousands of people for being too poor.

The new policy for "Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds", which appeared Monday on the Federal Register's website and will take effect in two months, sets new standards for obtaining permanent residency and US citizenship. "We must ensure that non-citizens do not abuse our public benefit programs and jeopardize the social safety net needed by vulnerable Americans".

As the Trump administration continues to roll back safeguards for immigrants in the United States, the White House is now going one step further by rolling out an enforceable version of the so-called "public charge" rule in the coming days. Some 800,000 green cards were granted in 2016. Cuccinelli says he's "certainly not prepared to take anything down off the Statue of Liberty".

In addition, those already here and using public services will not be able to obtain green cards or United States citizenship.

Cuccinelli said no particular group should feel targeted by the measure.

"For over a century, the public charge ground of inadmissibility has been part of our nation's immigration laws". In the 2018 fiscal year, which ended last September, the number of visas denied on those grounds quadrupled compared to the previous year.

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