On Aug. 12, the Trump administration announced a new rule that could significantly lower the number of legal immigrants eligible to obtain and maintain residency in California and the rest of the United States. The rule change continues the Trump Administration's aggressive stance on immigration.
Under the new rule, which is 837 pages long and will impact approximately 382,000 people, immigrants who have low incomes, limited education or use public benefits for a certain amount of time could be denied a green card. For example, those who use public benefits for 12 months within a three-year period could become ineligible to remain in the country. In addition, each benefit used counts as a separate incident, so two benefits will count as two months of use. Benefits such as food stamps, housing vouchers and most forms of Medicaid are included under the rule, which is scheduled to go into effect on Oct. 15.
According to acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director, the rule change is intended to encourage "self-reliance and self-sufficiency" from immigrants living in the country. However, critics of the policy say that it will discriminate against immigrants from poorer nations, force families to go without medical care and force children to go hungry. They also say it ignores the fact that America has always been a nation of immigrants. New York's attorney general says she plans to file a lawsuit challenging the rule.
Immigration law is complex and subject to change. Someone who wishes to obtain a work visa, student visa or other type of green card to enter and remain in the United States might benefit from working with an immigration attorney. The attorney could help a client navigate the visa application process and work to obtain a green card.