First, Trump’s attack was on immigrants seeking legal asylum at the border. Now, his administration is targeting immigrants who are already here legally:

On August 14 of this year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published an amendment or “final rule that more narrowly defined the “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds,” rule in a way that could more easily deny green cards and therefore permanent residency to immigrants who are using public assistance

U.S. immigration has always had this law to  But until now, the law rarely was applied with a heavy hand. The new criteria for  will clarify, and more narrowly define the “Public Charge” law that already exists.

The new, amended definition will allow the U.S. to weed out those immigrants on taxpayer-funded benefits — such as Medicaid, food stamps or housing assistance– those the government he considers “undesirables,” in favor of those who come with greater wealth and self-sustainability.

The rule applies to applicants for admission, aliens seeking to adjust their status to that of lawful permanent residents from within the United States, and aliens within the United States who hold a nonimmigrant visa and seek to extend their stay in the same nonimmigrant classification or to change their status to a different nonimmigrant classification. And it is due to take effect on Tuesday, October 15.

Analysts say the public charge change could dramatically reduce family-based legal immigration to the United States, particularly from Latin America and Africa, where incomes are generally lower than the rest of the world. It also could lead to an increase in deportations, as those present with some form of provisional or temporary immigration status in the United States are denied legal residency.

NY Attorney General Letitia James said on Monday, the state would issue a temporary injunction– or attempt to halt– the law for New Yorkers:

“If the rule is enforced next week, New Yorkers – citizens and non-citizens alike – will be adversely impacted. Healthcare premiums will rise, and children will needlessly go hungry,” said AG James.

“That’s why we are seeking an immediate halt to the implementation of this misguided rule and will continue to pursue every legal tool available to permanently stop it.” 

For citizenship and immigration help and services, visit the National Immigration Legal Services Directory.

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