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The Trump administration imposes new rules to deny green cards to immigrants benefitting from government assistance

In order to receive a green card, a person must demonstrate the federal government that they will not become a burden to the country and that they can be self sufficient as already established by federal law. However, with the new rule, broader assistance programs have been outlined in order to disqualify more candidates as well as other factors that will determine whether a person can qualify for a green card such as education, household income and health.


            The new rule, which is expected to take effect in October, is most likely to affect states with large number of immigrants in which families are made up of both citizens and non-citizens such as California. UCLA professor of Chicano studies, Raul Hinojosa Ojeda, stated that Trump’s new rule goes against the concept of immigration integration, which boosts the country’s economy. According to Hinojosa-Ojeda, immigration integration is important because the country benefits from an increase in labor participation by immigrants and in order for them to become self sufficient, they need government assistance as a gateway.


            When Trump first announced this rule back in October 2018, it had a serious effect on immigrant families. According to a survey by the Urban Institute done on 1,950 adults who were immigrants or lived with immigrant family members, 14% of them avoided receiving government benefits because they feared for their future legal status.


            Immigrant advocates are concerned about this new rule because they believe that it will discourage immigrant families from participating in government assistance programs. Also, those who have been granted green cards may decide to dis-enroll to protect their legal status in the country. However, it is known for fact that immigrants constitute a small percentage of people receiving government assistance. Though the narrative of the immigrant who receives government assistance is widely believed in the country.


            It is recorded that 544,000 people apply for green cards annually and with Trump’s new rule, it is estimated that 382,000 people will be subject for review when applying for green cards.


            Aside from affecting green card holders and those seeking a green card, in a study conducted in 2018 to measure the effects that such a policy would have a devastating effect on the healthcare sector. It was estimated that Medi-Cal would lose $1.19 billion in federal support with CalFresh loosing $488 million and an estimated of 17,700 jobs being lost in California.

            We are two months away until this new rule goes into full effect around the country. This new policy will surely receive wide spread backlash and will be face in federal courts as many previous policies enacted by the Trump administration. In the mean time, its important to place focus on how this new policy will continue to discourage green card holders from being enrolled in government assistance programs.


Joshua Ojeda Sanchez


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