The Trump administration has announced that legal immigrants in the United States who meet the strict criteria needed to legally use public benefits — such as food assistance and Section 8 housing vouchers — could now be denied green cards under a new “Public Charge” rule change. The move could force hard-working immigrants to stop accessing programs that their families need out of fear that they will now risk their legal immigration status.
Federal law has always required those seeking green cards to prove they will not depend primarily on public benefits — but had limited this cash benefits (like welfare checks) or long-term institutional care. But the government has never before considered the use of other public benefits that many immigrants in low-paying fields rely on, like assistance for food or housing vouchers. This rule change widely expands the breadth of who is considered a “public charge”.
Under federal law, the public is allowed 60 days to submit comments about this ruling to The Federal Register, the national journal of the U.S. government.