Trump’s Proposal To Deny Green Cards To Aid Recipients Bad News For Indians In US

The proposed rule signed by the Homeland Security Secretary on September 21 and posted on the website of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was slammed by the Silicon Valley-based tech industry and political leaders.

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration has announced a new rule proposing to deny Green Cards —lawful permanent residency, a step away from citizenship—to immigrants who legally use state aid to get by, for prescription drugs, housing, food stamps and a number of other reasons.


“Under long-standing federal law, those seeking to immigrate to the United States must show they can support themselves financially,” said Department of Homeland secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in a statement announcing the new rule on Saturday.


“This proposed rule will implement a law passed by Congress intended to promote immigrant self-sufficiency and protect finite resources by ensuring that they are not likely to become burdens on American taxpayers.”


The proposed areas for disqualification will include cash assistance for a variety of reasons, emergency medical attention, low income subsidy for certain prescription drugs, long-term hospitalisation at government expense, food stamps, and housing assistance, according to the announcement.


The measure, which is part of a package of crackdown by the Trump administration on both legal and illegal immigration, is expected to hit millions of poor immigrants who come to the United Sated for a better life and compel them to choose to stay without state’s help or return to their home countries.


The new rule, which is expected to impact an estimated 382,000 people according to US media reports, will be notified in the country’s official gazette (or the Federal Register) and will be open for public comments for 60 days.


The rule-making will proceed to the next stage of being formalised then.


The United States grants around 1 million Green Cards a year. Indians accounted for 77,908; 64,116 and 64,687 in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively, coming in mostly on employment and family -linked visas.


Most of them have sound jobs with all related benefits or their families to fall back on.


But could they fall in this category? It could not be immediately ascertained if Indian-origin immigrants do or have resorted to public help of the kind specified in the new order.


Indian-origin immigrants accounted for 6.7% and 15.4% of immigrants in poverty or near poverty, according to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies, based on data from a 2011 Current Population Survey, conducted by the US Census Bureau.


And 15.3% of those from India were without health insurance.


The rule doesn’t impact those who have already received their Green Cards. But 306,601 people from India are in the queue for their Green cards, according to the most recent data from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, and many join this fast- growing queue of hopefuls every year.


Could they be impacted, or other Indians? “Yes,” said Leon Fresco, an immigration attorney, “if they have collected any of the benefits set forth in the rule”. He is advising a group of Indian-origin immigrants who have been lobbying US Congress and administration to change rules to end the backlog of Indian applicants, which at present rate could take decades to clear.

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