A policy from the Trump administration that would have been even stiffer has been replaced by one that Homeland Security revealed on Thursday. The new “public charge” law, which penalizes immigrants for prospective welfare usage, only applies if the government predicts that they will someday become “primarily dependent” on government benefits.
In contrast, an immigrant would not be penalized for residing in government housing, utilizing Medicaid for medical care, or utilizing food stamps. The new regulation would provide “fair and humanitarian treatment of lawful immigrants,” according to Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
In keeping with the fundamental principles of America, he declared, “We will not punish people for choosing to use the health benefits and other complementary government services that are available to them.”
However, Emilio Gonzalez, the U.S. The Bush administration’s Citizenship and Immigration Services said that the new regulation went beyond what the statute intended. He stated, “These folks are changing the law to accomplish what they know Congress won’t let.
The public charge rule is based on the idea that immigrants should be able to support themselves independently and not burden Americans. Since the late 1800s, there has been a public charge rule in existence. Although they are not meant to, illegal immigrants can collect some public benefits on behalf of their U.S. citizen children.
Congress drafted the current public charge statute in 1996. It enables the government to deny entrance to immigrants who are thought to be likely to rely on government aid to maintain themselves here or to refuse to provide permanent legal status.
The administration was tasked by Congress with laying forth the precise details of that estimate. Only immigrants who directly received government cash transfers or were institutionalized, according to “interim” instructions issued by the Clinton administration in 1999, were in violation.
Few immigrants violated the law. The Trump administration expanded the programs that would be considered to include non-cash aid like food stamps or public housing under a new policy that was established in 2019. Federal courts suspended that strategy, but Homeland Security claimed that while it was in existence, it was ineffectual.
Only three of the 47,555 applicants whose cases were decided during that period had their applications dismissed due to “public charge” concerns. Notices of intent to deny were sent to two more. All five applications eventually received approval. However, officials said that the regulation did have harmful unintended consequences, particularly for immigrants who dreaded applying for programs even when they were qualified.
Even during the COVID-19 epidemic, survey results revealed that some immigrants chose not to seek medical attention. The new policy of Mr. Mayorkas is primarily a holdover from the Clinton administration.
The regulation had previously been issued by the administration in draft form, and Thursday’s adoption was anticipated. It is far more challenging for a future administration to reverse the policy if it is enshrined in official rules.
They would be required to go through the same rule-making procedure as the Biden administration and offer convincing arguments as to why the Biden plan is ineffective or does not follow the letter of the law. Advocates for immigrant rights applauded the new regulations, describing them as essential elements of a country prepared to accept less fortunate arrivals.
Jorge Loweree at the American Immigration Council stated, “The United States works best when it takes use of the abilities of immigrants from all areas of life, not just the rich.” Even if immigrants start at the bottom and rise through the ranks, the evidence clearly shows that they are a net benefit to this nation.
However, the Migration Policy Institute predicted on Thursday that concerns about utilizing assistance will continue to exist in the immigrant population. A significant public education effort, according to MPI, might allay these worries.