New US rule on immigration could impact Indians

Trump administration makes it easier to deny green cards to immigrants

The Trump administration is cracking down on green cards for immigrants who've spent more than a year on food stamps, Medicaid or other public benefits designated for low-income residents.

"It's an effort to limit migration into the U.S.to wealthy people", says John Sandweg, who served as acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement under President Obama.

"It applies to anyone applying for an F-1 student visa, or an H-1B, or an extension of such temporary visas-plus applications for green cards by F-1 and H-1B visa holders", said Doug Rand, an Obama White House official who worked extensively on immigration issues and is the co-founder of Boundless Immigration, a technology company that helps immigrants obtain green cards and citizenship. The National Immigration Law Center said it intends to sue the Trump administration to halt the rule's implementation.

The Trump administration has released the final version of its controversial "public charge" rule-the latest measure in the government's ongoing hardline crackdown on immigration in the U.S.

The new rule is derived from the Immigration Act of 1882, which allows the USA government to deny a visa to anyone likely to become a "public charge". Americans widely agree that individuals coming to our country should be self-sufficient, with 73 per cent in favour of requiring immigrants to be able to support themselves financially, it said.

It will encourage "self-reliance and self-sufficiency for those seeking to come to or stay in the United States", said acting US Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli, appearing in the White House briefing room.

The changes won't go into effect until October.

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Foreigners looking to come to the USA generally have to prove they have enough income to prevent them from becoming a "public charge".

Recently, the Trump administration increased the threshold for a category of legal immigration that was called the "millionaire's visa", E-B5, under which a foreigner can become eligible for a Green Card by investing a certain some of money in creating employment in the USA - from $1 million to $1.8 million, and from $500,000 to $900,000.

The ruling could impact numerous 22 million non-citizen legal residents of the country, and the estimated 10.5 million unauthorized immigrants, most long-term residents in both groups. CBS Radio's Steven Portnoy asked asked: "As long as the public charge has been in effect since the late 1800s, there's also been, nearly as long, the words at the base of the Statue of Liberty that read 'Give us your exhausted, your poor...' You're implementing a public charge rule for the first time. This rule directly challenges who Texas is today", Dunkelburg said.

Cuccinelli argues that immigrants who have used these benefits can still advocate for getting a green card or legal status.

Cuccinelli said the new rule would affect about 400,000 immigrants each year - and it won't affect those now seeking asylum in the United States.

Mark Greenberg, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, said the rule is a major overhaul of how immigration benefits have been granted since 1999, the last time "public charge" was defined.

Cuccinelli said no particular group should feel targeted by the measure.

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