- Immigrants participating in government benefit programs may not get permanent residency
- New program to be implemented from October 2019
- Pregnant women, children, asylum seekers and refugees exempted
With its most recent announcement, the US administration has redefined the ‘Public Charge’ law and changed its immigration policy to favor wealthy applicants over those who might need government aid in the future. Let us find more about how the new USA immigration policy favors the wealthy.
USA Immigration Policy And The Wealthy
The new regulation is not aimed at illegal immigrants but at legal immigrants applying for permanent residency. According to this regulation, when an immigrant applies for a Green Card, his or her eligibility will depend on financial well-being and assets owned as well as age, family status, health, and educational qualifications.
Immigration officials will have the leeway to deny an application if they feel that the applicant is likely to use government benefit programs in the future. This includes programs for subsidized housing and food stamps.
The rule is to be enforced from October 2019. People who have already been issued Green Cards will not be subject to this program. It also excludes certain military members, asylum seekers, refugees, and pregnant women and children.
However, there is a fear that a number of immigrants may drop out of government benefit programs fearing retribution by immigration authorities.
USA Immigration Policy – How Rich Do You Have To Be For A US Green Card?
The USA follows different poverty lines for Alaska, Hawaii and the rest of the country.
|No Of Family Members||Alaska||Hawaii||48 Contiguous States & The District Of Columbia|
Note: Amount mentioned is in USD. Data source: Poverty Guidelines in the USA
Under the new ruling, immigrants who have an income equivalent to or more than 250% of the poverty line are not likely to be identified as public charges.
This means a family of 4 should have a combined income of about $64,000. Immigrants with income lesser than this will need to prove their financial stability. Applicants who have private health insurance are also more likely to be approved for a Green Card.
USA Immigration Policy And Its Effects
This new regulation favoring wealthy immigrants will reduce down immigration from impoverished countries in Central America, Africa, and the Caribbean.
The government has also said that this will reduce the tax burden on American citizens as the people being granted residency will not be dependent on government welfare programs.
Over time, immigration officials hope that this will bring about a change in the composition of the American immigrant population.
On the other hand, this announcement has made a number of immigrants drop out of government programs and forgo lifesaving care. The damage caused by this may last for years. For example, pregnant women opting out of supplementary nutritional programs could be putting their baby’s health at risk.
How Many People Will The New Rule Affect?
The number of people affected by the new rule is not clear. According to the Federal Register, the Department of Homeland Security officials have estimated that more than 382,000 immigrants may be subject to the new ruling.
They estimate that more than 324,000 immigrants may drop out of public benefit programs as a result of this announcement. However, according to advocacy organizations, around 26 million immigrants in the USA may reconsider using government benefit programs to give themselves a better chance of getting a Green Card.
- Changing Demographics Of Immigrants In The USA
- US Immigration Reform – What The Ideal Policy Should Include
- Spike In The Number Of Immigrants Getting US Citizenship
- Trump’s Immigration Reform
- Trump’s Merit Based Immigration And Green Card System – Key Points