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Trump Administration to Announce Tougher Enforcement Against Immigrants Signing up for Welfare

UPDATE: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli outlined the details of the new rule from the White House briefing room Monday morning, citing his own immigrant family from Italy. 

The new rule does not affect asylum seekers, refugees, pregnant women, mortgage loans or students loans. Food stamps, cash assistance and other welfare will count as a negative on applications to become legal permanent residents. Likelihood of welfare use, current use or past use will only serve as one negative factor as applications are considered. A totality of other factors, like age and employment, will also be considered before a green card is issued.  

The rule will go into affect on October 15, 2019 and applications for green cards will not consider the new requirements while evaluating eligibility until that date. Applications submitted before October 15 will not be subject to the additional scrutiny.

"This is an implementation of a law passed by Congress in 1996...on a bipartisan basis," Cuccinelli said. "Our rule generally prevents aliens who are likely to become a public charge from coming to the United States or remaining here and getting a green card."

"Through the public charge rule, President Trump's administration is re-enforcing the ideals of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility ensuring immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful here in America," he continued.

***Original post***

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli will announce from the White House Monday morning new enforcement measures that will make it more difficult for immigrants to obtain green cards if they are likely to sign up for welfare benefits. 

"Public charge has been a part of our immigration law since the 1880s.  Self-sufficiency has been a core tenet of the American dream. Self-reliance, industriousness, and perseverance laid the foundation of our nation and have defined generations of hardworking immigrants seeking opportunity in the United States ever since," a USCIS official released Monday morning. "President Trump is fulfilling his promise to the American people to fix our immigration system and is defining this important law that will protect American taxpayers and prevent abuse of government benefits."

Cuccinelli will argue the Trump administration is simply enforcing long standing and existing laws. 

"Generations of Americans and hardworking legal immigrants have worked hard to meet their needs – they didn’t rely on the government," a background document says. "For more than a century, our process of admissibility into the country has emphasized the need for self-sufficiency."

 The move is being made to cut down on fraud, abuse and to protect resources provided by the American taxpayer. 

From the rule:

DHS is revising its interpretation  of “public  charge”  to incorporate  consideration of such  benefits,  and to better ensure  that  aliens  subject  to the  public  charge inadmissibility  ground  are self-sufficient,  i.e.,  do not depend on public  resources  to meet their  needs,  butrather  rely  on their  own capabilities,  as well  as the resources  of family members,  sponsors,  and private  organizations.10This  rule  redefines  the term “public charge”  to mean  an alien  who receives  one or more designated  public  benefits  for more than  12 months  in  the  aggregate  within  any  36-month  period  (such  that,  for instance, receipt  of two benefits  in  one month  counts  as two months). This  rule  defines  theterm “public  benefit” toinclude  cash  benefits  for  income  maintenance,  SNAP, most  forms  of Medicaid,  Section  8 Housing  Assistance  under  the Housing  Choice  Voucher (HCV) Program,  Section  8 Project-Based  Rental  Assistance,  and certain  other  forms  of subsidized  housing.   DHS has  tailored  the rule  to limit  its  effects in  certain  ways,  such  as for  active duty  military  members  and their  families,  and children  in  certain  contexts.

Check back for more information after Cuccinelli's press conference, which will take place at 10 am ET.

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