With election season reaching fever pitch and political rhetoric becoming a daily headline, it can be challenging to stay on top of where immigration legislation stands. While many of President Trump’s proposed policy changes have stalled in court, some have passed into law and carry important implications for those seeking to immigrate to the United States.
Most notably, in August of this year the Trump Administration introduced a new sweeping rule that would give the government greater power to reject green card and permanent residency to immigrants who are dependent on government aid. The reform, which finds its basis in the Immigration Act of 1882, is set to come into effect on October 15th. The original legislation provided that any immigrant deemed a “public charge” would be deported and barred from the country. The Trump Administration refines the meaning of “public charge” to include any legal immigrant who depends on government aid, like Medicaid, Housing Vouchers, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and other similar types of assistance.
Who will be affected?
Those people coming from low-income backgrounds and low-income nations will be most affected. Many immigrating parents will be forced to forego health and food aid for themselves and their children. Military members, asylum seekers, and refugees are exempt from the new public charge rule, though additional new legislation complicates the ability of people to enter the U.S. under the latter two categories. Undocumented immigrants will not be affected, as they are ineligible for government aid.
Reactions to the law
The National Immigration Law Center plans to file a lawsuit against Trump’s latest rule, on the grounds that it is racially motivated. Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke has criticized the law on Twitter as being anti-American. Critics in general assert that the move cuts off vital public benefits available to immigrants in the country.
Advice from immigration attorneys
Attorneys seeking to counsel clients in light of this new legislation—the changes to the ways in which asylum seekers may claim refugee status, and updates to the Flores Settlement Agreement governing the conditions under which migrant children can be detained—are hard-pressed to come up with answers. Hardy Vieux, who leads the legal work of Human Rights First, warns of a “world of darkness.”
In these uncertain and changing times, the most assured approach is to regularly direct questions or concerns to an experienced immigration attorney. After all, it is our job to stay up-to-date on changing regulations.
Ask the Immigration Attorney
At Choudhury Law, we address immigration law with a compassionate ear and hand. If you have a question, feel free to submit it for FREE using the form below. Our immigration attorney, Amena Choudhury, will respond with an answer to your most burning question, with the hope that a certain answer will bring you some peace of mind…even in today’s stormy political environment.