The Trump administration has issued a new rule that toughens the requirements for legal immigrants who seek to remain in the U.S. and at the same time has put a bite in the hitherto docile and dormant existing laws on immigration.

The new regulation, which starts on October 15, 2019, ensures that immigrants already in the U.S. but without green cards and those who seek to come over do not become a burden on public resources but have the means to survive through families, sponsors, and organizations. The rule basically evaluates the financial capability of an immigrant who wants to live in the U.S. permanently.

However, the new rule grandfathers’ immigrants who already have green cards and exempts beneficiaries of the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program. The new regulation, resting on what is referred to in immigration parlance as the LPC clause (“liable to become a public charge”), is the process where an alien receives one or more designated public benefits such as Supplemental Social Security, some forms of Medicaid, Section Housing Assistance, and many others.

The LPC clause has been part of U.S. immigration law for over a century but was undefined in statute or regulation. The rule gives broad lateral discretion to immigration officers and caseworkers who conduct interviews on immigrants who seek to adjust their existing status. Immigrants who are deemed potentially not self-sufficient in the interview process may be denied green cards and eventually deported.

Immigration advocates have condemned the ruling as discriminatory because it is wealth-based and poor immigrants may be denied life-saving health care and basic needs for themselves and their children. The government, however, contends that it does not want immigrants to be a drain on society by relying on welfare systems, which are proving expensive.

Immigration advocates say green card holders on public assistance are jittery and are having sleepless nights about the new rule.
John Akpalu Esq., an immigration attorney in New York, pointed out in an interview that sponsors of relatives and friends to the U.S. are financially responsible for the sponsored for the five-year duration for which an affidavit of support is valid. He cautioned that a sponsored immigrant who accesses certain public benefits within the stipulated years puts himself/herself and the sponsor in jeopardy.

If for any reason the sponsored person is to be deported, the onus is on the sponsor to finance expenses associated with deportation.

Mr. Akpalu advised that legal residents who move to another address within the United States are required to complete and mail Form AR-11 (Alien’s Change of Address Card) to the US Immigration Service within ten days of such change of address or risk being denied legal status and/or citizenship. Immigrants with green cards who do not contribute to the Social Security system may also be denied citizenship status.

On the other side of the coin, green card holders who access public benefits may not qualify for citizenship. Critics point out that the public charge issue is a tool that stifles immigration from developing countries to the U.S.

Non-English-speaking immigrants facing communications barriers – as well as all persons with perceived foreign accents – will be at the mercy of immigration officers, critics claim.

Posted by on Aug 16 2019. Filed under top stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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