The Trump administration is continuing its assault on immigration. Their policy direction extends beyond tamping down on some sort of scourge on American society to tamping down on immigrants’ rights as a whole. That phenomena was evident in the administration’s separation of undocumented immigrant children from their families at the border, and it’s now evident in the administration’s targeting of immigrants who make it into the United States with all of the proper documentation.
NBC is reporting that the administration is considering barring legal residents from citizenship if they or anyone in their household have used public assistance. That public assistance includes ObamaCare, food stamps, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and other forms of help, and the ban would extend to legal immigrants seeking legal permanent resident status as well.
The media has previously reported that the Trump administration was considering a rule along those lines. Now, though, sources tell NBC that a version of the rule has been sent for review by the White House Office of Management and Budget, which is among the last steps before it becomes official.
The administration does not appear to need Congressional approval for their intended change, because they would be expanding on the definition of an already legislated term, not enacting something entirely new. They want to make it so that utilizing public assistance would be inducing a “public charge,” a term that NBC explains the Clinton administration already redefined in the 1990s. Thus, there’s a precedent for the logistics of the reportedly impending rule change.
The change, if enacted, could affect more than 20 million immigrants according to immigration lawyers and advocates speaking to NBC. According to NBC, it’s in part the work of Stephen Miller, who’s been by the president’s side throughout his administration.
The Trump administration has already been working to curtail legal immigration through other bureaucratic means.
The number of immigrants granted green cards is set to be 20 percent lower in fiscal year 2018 than it was in fiscal year 2016. The number of individuals made naturalized citizens is similarly set to take a 10 percent dive this fiscal year.
That drop has been accomplished at least in part through immigration authorities seeking to find anything they can on a prospective green card holder or citizen before granting their request. They told Haitian green card holder Louis Charles, who spoke to NBC, that they were revisiting a waiver issued years ago clearing his name in connection to a fake passport incident.
Charles, like millions of others, has built a family in the United States that includes a daughter in her 20s with severe disabilities who he’s used public assistance to help care for.
If Miller has his way, Charles could be barred from ever becoming a U.S. citizen.
The administration can’t escape the bigoted implications of their actions in part because of the president’s own words. Standing next to British Prime Minister Theresa May recently while in Europe, he claimed that immigration is posing some kind of threat to the continent, commenting:
‘I think they better watch themselves because [immigration is] changing culture.’
Most every white person in the United States lives as a descendant of immigrants, but Trump and his cronies are still seeking to impose their draconian policy vision anyway.
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