Trump administration’s “public charge” rules go into effect

Kimberly Adams Feb 24, 2020
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Using programs like food stamps can now hurt a person's chance when they are applying for visas or a change in immigration status. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Trump administration’s “public charge” rules go into effect

Kimberly Adams Feb 24, 2020
Using programs like food stamps can now hurt a person's chance when they are applying for visas or a change in immigration status. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

New immigration rules kick in Monday. The Trump administration is directing officials to pay closer attention to people’s use of certain public benefits when they are applying for visas or a change in immigration status.

This “public charge” rule has been subject to several rounds of legal challenges, and still is in some places. But the rule is now in effect.

Officials now have to consider whether visa or green card applicants have used, or even might use, services such as cash support, food aid, housing assistance and certain uses of Medicaid.

“The intent is to have those that are youthful, healthy, educated with the financial ability to immigrate to the United States,” said Mercedes Badia-Tavas, an immigration lawyer at Barnes and Thornburg.

The Trump administration says the goal is to make sure immigrants can be self-sufficient. Many communities have already seen drops in people using services like Medicaid or food assistance because it could affect their immigration status.

“It’s unclear to what extent states and localities will feel like they need to step in and create a new safety net of services,” said Shelby Gonzales with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Officials say some benefits, like children’s insurance, won’t hurt immigrants’ chances. Gonzales said people have been avoiding those programs just to be safe.

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