Denial of Green Cards for Non-Wealthy
In an expansion of anti-immigration policies, the Trump administration has issued a new rule aimed at legal immigrants applying for a green card. Effective in October, the new regulation will add a wealth test to the process of obtaining a green card. Immigrants who are poor and use government benefit programs will be denied permanent legal status while wealthy immigrants who are less likely to use public assistance will be prioritized.
Immigrants to the U.S. have always had to prove that they will not become a burden to the system or what is termed a public charge. Until now, the guidelines for determining who could be deemed a public charge were considered to only use cash benefits. The Trump administration’s wealth test would define a public charge as someone who receives one or more public benefits for more than a year, within a three-year period.
Trump has often referred to poor and underdeveloped nations in disparaging terms and is actively changing U.S. immigration policy to one based only on merit. The new rule means that after arriving in the United States seeking refuge, poor immigrants from poverty-stricken areas of Africa, Central America, and the Caribbean will have far less of a chance to remain in the country. The executive director of the National Immigration Law Center stated the humanitarian impact of the rule will be dire as families are forced to choose between lifesaving health care and nutrition and their chances of achieving permanent legal status.
Immigration advocates anticipate that many immigrants, even those not included in the rule, will drop out of programs due to fear that using public assistance will jeopardize their immigration status. In addition to those seeking admission to the U.S. and applicants for permanent legal status, the rule targets anyone applying for an extension or change of visa status. The federal assistance programs being scrutinized include Medicaid, known in Pennsylvania as Medical Assistance, the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, the Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance, use of Section 9 Public Housing, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
States Fight Back
Almost as soon as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced the new rule, more than a dozen states sued the Trump administration to stop its enforcement. The attorneys general of Pennsylvania and New Jersey are part of the coalition challenging the rule in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Another suit has been filed in federal court in Manhattan by the governments of New York state, New York City, Connecticut, and Vermont. Several advocacy groups, including the National Immigration Law Center, have also filed their own lawsuits.
Philadelphia Visa Petition Lawyers at the Law Offices of Tahir Mella, P.C. Assist Those Applying for Permanent Legal Status
If you have questions about applying for a green card, contact the Philadelphia visa petition lawyers at the Law Offices of Tahir Mella, P.C. We have the knowledge and experience necessary to help you achieve your goals. To schedule a free consultation about your case, call us at 215-496-0690 or contact us online. Located in Philadelphia, we represent clients throughout the tri-state area, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide.