This week, the Trump administration announced a new rule counting usage of government benefits against anyone trying to obtain U.S. citizenship. Making the thought processes behind their move pretty crystal clear, acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli went on cable television to insist that the poem about America’s open arms at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty was meant to only apply to Europeans. Seriously! In response, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) herself slammed the move and commentary in a public statement posted to Twitter, insisting that those on her side would soon take down the rule change in court.
She shared, quite bluntly:
‘This hateful, bigoted rule is a direct assault on our nation’s proud heritage as a beacon of hope and opportunity for all and a clear attempt to demonize and terrorize the newcomers who make America more American. It will be swiftly challenged and defeated in the courts.’
New York Attorney General Letitia James has already announced plans for a legal challenge to the rule. If allowed to go into effect at its planned start date about two months down the road, if immigrants use services like food stamps, that will count against any attempts to obtain citizenship. If immigrants who haven’t even made it into the country yet seem likely in the eyes of the already documented anti-immigrant Trump administration to become a “public charge” and use these benefits, that will weigh down their chances of entry.
In the standards of this new rule, someone becomes a “public charge” if they use any of the documented benefits for more than twelve months overall in a 36 month period. In other words, if those already marginalized people can’t essentially immediately scrape together financial provisions to keep them from many public benefits that are freely available to native-born, white Americans — then the Trump administration would like them to be just out of luck.
Could they be any more blatant with their singling out of people of color?
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