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Aspiring Immigrants Face New Green Card Hurdles

Since his inauguration, President Trump has been implementing increasingly controversial and detrimental changes to the legal immigration process. At the end of 2017, the Trump Administration and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) started employing new tactics to prevent immigrants from obtaining green cards and permanent legal status. In recent months, the presidential office, with the support of the United States Department of Homeland Security, has been drafting and promoting proposals that staunchly aim to reduce the number of eligible green card applicants.

As of October 2018, the Trump Administration has played a new hand in its crusade to prevent legal immigration. According to a new proposal, immigrants may be disqualified from becoming permanent legal residents if they use certain public benefits. The United States Department of Homeland Security claims that the use of benefits indicates that an immigrant is likely to remain dependent on government services. In other words, only immigrants who can sustain their standard of living without utilizing public benefits should be allowed citizenship—even if they are considered legally eligible for said benefits.

This new public charge rule is also likely to impact family-based immigration. Many low-income families rely on public benefits to cover their basic financial needs. In a report from the Fiscal Policy Institute, an estimated 24 million people may be too frightened to accept the benefits their families require. However, before removing yourself from any special programs, it’s important to discuss your situation with an experienced immigration attorney. Misled or confused people have been removing themselves from programs that aren’t even included in the proposal, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

To end any misconceptions, the Pacific Standard website posted an article that lists important takeaways compiled by immigration law and public-benefit experts:

  1. Immigrants will be less likely to secure green cards if they accept Section 8 housing vouchers, Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, or non-emergency Medicaid.
  2. However, this rule does not apply to green card holders, asylum seekers, refugees, or any other protected groups.
  3. An immigrant will not immediately be denied a green card for accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Benefits or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
  4. This rule is currently just a proposal and will not be applied retroactively.

The United States Department of Homeland Security acknowledges that these restrictions serve a dual purpose in limiting the number of green card holders and discouraging immigrants from utilizing benefits. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly 400,000 green card applicants may be affected by this new policy. It’s important to discuss your financial situation with an experienced immigration attorney if you have any concerns about your green card eligibility.

Seek Legal Representation

In this uncertain political climate, it’s important for every hopeful immigrant and naturalized citizen to stay updated on changing laws and policies. Contact the San Mateo immigration attorney at The Alagiri Immigration Law Firm if you have any concerns about your immigration status. Since 2005, our firm has helped countless clients across the world obtain green cards. Our compassionate and experienced lawyer can listen to your questions and explain how these policy updates may impact your case.

Contact The Alagiri Immigration Law Firm, the “Best Boutique Immigration Law Firm in California,” at (650) 931-2509 to schedule a consultation.