White House proposal could crack down on green card-holders with public benefits
A proposed rule by the Trump administration could make it harder for legal immigrants to get green cards if they received certain kinds of public assistance — including Medicaid, food stamps and housing subsidies.
A final rule on this proposal by the Department of Homeland Security or DHS wouldn’t likely take effect until 2019, but immigrant rights advocates said the chilling impact is already being felt.
The DHS predicted that 2.5 percent of eligible immigrants would drop out of public benefits programs because of this policy change — saving the federal government about $1.5 billion per year.
The Center for Law and Social Policy estimated that millions of immigrants are likely to be affected directly or indirectly – resulting to massive health implications.
The DHS said these could lead to “worse health outcomes, increased use of emergency rooms, increased prevalence of communicable diseases, increased rates of poverty,” among others.
Other details that came out: the rule doesn’t penalize immigrants for purchasing health insurance on the affordable care act. But there are consequences for not having coverage if you have a health condition.
Immigrants can apply for benefits for U.S. citizen children, but not for themselves.
Immigrants can apply for benefits that cover only their children who are citizens, without affecting their green card applications – but they cannot get the same benefits.
Immigrants who decide not to use public benefits can still be denied green cards.
Also, even if immigrants eligible to get public benefits decide not to use them, their green cards could still get rejected because they are considered likely to avail of these benefits “at any time in the future.”