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Trump administration proposal would change green card rules

Some immigrants in California might be concerned about the effect a proposed new change by the Trump administration will have on their ability to access government benefits and still get a green card. The proposal would disqualify some immigrants from becoming permanent residents even if they were eligible for the benefits they received.

Immigration attorneys are reporting widespread concern among their clients about the proposal, and several factors are adding to the confusion. One is that while certain programs are named, the proposal would give broad discretion to immigration officials to deny green cards even if the person participated in programs that are not specifically mentioned. Another is that if the proposal passes into law, it will not go into effect for several months and may undergo significant changes in that time.

Meanwhile, immigrants may be getting bad advice from some notary publics, a position that is like an attorney in certain Latin American countries. Even well-meaning efforts by social workers to connect them with as many resources as possible could backfire if accepting those resources could result in losing green card eligibility. Immigrants may also need to scrutinize their taxes to see if any tax credits could disqualify them. Critics have lashed out at the proposal, saying it puts families' health at risk and denies much-needed assistance to vulnerable people.

Some elements of immigration law can be complex. However, a lawyer could provide valuable guidance. In addition to helping someone obtain a green card, an attorney may be able to assist with family reunification, naturalization or getting visas for work or study. Furthermore, legal counsel could help if a client is facing deportation or seeking asylum.

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