Sunday, September 23, 2018

Trump Administration Targets Noncitizen Public Benefits Recipients

Here is the recently released proposed rule from the Department of Homeland Security. Leaked versions of the rule have been floating around for several months.  The DHS headline in the online announcement of the proposed rule is revealing:

"DHS Announces New Proposed Immigration Rule to Enforce Long-Standing Law that Promotes Self-Sufficiency and Protects American Taxpayers."

DHS summarizes the proposed rule as follows:

"The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to prescribe how it determines whether an alien is inadmissible to the United States under section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) because he or she is likely at any time to become a public charge. Aliens who seek adjustment of status or a visa, or who are applicants for admission, must establish that they are not likely at any time to become a public charge, unless Congress has expressly exempted them from this ground of inadmissibility or has otherwise permitted them to seek a waiver of inadmissibility. Moreover, DHS proposes to require all aliens seeking an extension of stay or change of status to demonstrate that they have not received, are not currently receiving, nor are likely to receive, public benefits as defined in the proposed rule.

DHS proposes to define `public charge' as the term is used in sections 212(a)(4) of the Act. DHS also proposes to define the types of public benefits that are considered in public charge inadmissibility determinations. DHS would consider an alien’s receipt of public benefits when such receipt is above the applicable threshold(s) proposed by DHS, either in terms of dollar
value or duration of receipt. DHS proposes to clarify that it will make public charge inadmissibility determinations based on consideration of the factors set forth in section 212(a)(4)  and in the totality of an alien’s circumstances. DHS also proposes to clarify when an alien seeking adjustment of status, who is inadmissible under section 212(a)(4) of the Act, may be granted adjustment of status in the discretion of DHS upon the giving of a public charge bond. DHS is also proposing revisions to existing USCIS information collections and new information collection instruments to accompany the proposed regulatory changes. With the publication of this proposed rule, DHS withdraws the proposed regulation on public charge that the former
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) published on May 26, 1999."

The criticism of the proposed rule has been withering:

Lenka Mendoza, an immigrant mother who could be affected by this change, and a leader of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, commented:

“No parent should have to choose between feeding their children or staying together. Trump wants to hurt my daughter and make it harder for me to take care of her. But we can’t hide our head under the ground now. We must stand together to protect our children and our families.”

Jess Morales Rocketto, Political Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Chair of the Families Belong Together campaign, said:

“Trump is proposing sweeping changes to our immigration system that could impact over 20 million children. He’s changing the rules only to put children at risk and divide our country. Tearing families apart is a choice that we don’t have to keep making. We now have 60 days. It’s up to us to raise our voices and demand that this change not be forced through.”

CNN reports the following reactions to the proposed rule:

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued a statement critical of the news on Saturday following reports on the proposed rule.

"How you contribute to your community — and not what you look like or the contents of your wallet — should be what matters most. This proposed rule does the opposite and makes clear that the Trump administration continues to prioritize money over family unity by ensuring that only the wealthiest can afford to build a future in this country," Hincapié said.

Melissa Boteach at Center for American Progress also criticized the proposal, telling CNN, "This is an attack on working families and says that you would have to achieve the American dream somewhere else before you even come here."

For discussion of the rule and its genesis, click here and here.

UPDATE (9/24):  Here is the CLINIC analysis.

UPDATE (9/25):  Dara Lind provides a summary of the proposed rule on VOX.


Current Affairs | Permalink


Public Charge has long been used to discriminate against various immigrant groups, beginning with the Irish in the mid-19th century, and later on including Asians, Jews and many others. Trump is continuing an old and ugly tradition..

Posted by: Roger Algase | Sep 27, 2018 12:27:41 PM

Post a comment