Between President Trump’s own rhetoric and policies, like those that have emboldened ICE, it’s become easy for critics to worry that the U.S. is becoming anti-immigrant. The Department of Homeland Security is now getting ready to potentially implement a new policy that will only give those critics more ammunition. According to Reuters, DHS’ proposed policy would prevent foreigners who received public assistance, like food stamps, from later being granted permanent residency.
This proposed new criteria would include applicants who enroll their children in subsidized or wholly government-funded pre-K programs, and immigration officers would be allowed to probe whether applicants received health insurance or utility subsidies. Reuters has the specific language of the drafted document:
“Non-citizens who receive public benefits are not self-sufficient and are relying on the U.S. government and state and local entities for resources instead of their families, sponsors or private organizations. An alien’s receipt of public benefits comes at taxpayer expense and availability of public benefits may provide an incentive for aliens to immigrate to the United States.”
In essence, the new document expands the definition of “public charge,” which has long been the basis of denying permanent residence to applicants, albeit in a stricter sense.