U.S. implements new laws to deny green cards to many Caribbean and foreign nationals

Mildred Europa Taylor Feb 28, 2020 at 12:00pm

February 28, 2020 at 12:00 pm | News

Mildred Europa Taylor

Mildred Europa Taylor | Associate Editor

February 28, 2020 at 12:00 pm | News

U.S. President Donald Trump. Photo: Getty

Many Caribbean immigrants and other foreign nationals who are permanent residents or green card holders can be deported for a number of reasons based on a new rule.

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), green card holders who failed to admit that they are immigrants when filing their income tax returns, or who failed to report some of their income, could be deported.

It added that Caribbean men, between 18 and 25, who also failed to register with the U.S. Selective Service, could also be deported.

This comes on the back of the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule which took effect Monday following a Supreme Court ruling that allowed the policy to come into full force.

The “public charge” rule, officially known as the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds, would make it more difficult for immigrants who are likely to “become a public charge” to obtain green cards and visas in the U.S.

Per the new rule, immigrants who rely on benefits or who are likely to rely on government assistance such as food stamps, Medicaid, and housing vouchers could find it difficult to obtain a green card or visa.

Since Monday, immigration officials have begun enforcing regulations under the new rule.

This means that when a person seeks admission into the U.S. or wants to adjust their status in the country, immigration officials could deny their application over reasons that they could become a public charge.

A report by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) states that people younger than 18 or older than 61 could be the most affected group as well as those having an annual income below the federal poverty line.

“…Having income or resources of at least 250 percent of the poverty line will be weighted positively, while current or recent use of the specified public benefits will be heavily weighted negatively,” the Institute said.

Critics say the rule targets poor, legal immigrants seeking to become permanent U.S. residents.

Long-term care association LeadingAge has warned that the law could limit immigrant seniors’ access to long-term care services and negatively affect the industry’s workforce supply. 

“Under this new rule, it will be difficult for workers in long-term care to extend their status as an authorized worker with a green card because of their wage history and current receipt of nutrition supports (SNAP) or housing assistance in the form of public housing, vouchers or project-based Section 8,” LeadingAge said.

There are concerns that immigrant households will choose not to participate in a non-cash benefit program due to the possibility of risking their future green card status.

The “public charge” rule was set to go into effect last October but was blocked several times in federal court. This month, the Supreme Court lifted the last remaining injunction protecting Illinois residents from the rule.

The USCIS, in a statement, hailed the decision of the court.

It said the U.S. would start implementing the public charge rule “nationwide, including in Illinois, following another judicial victory lifting the injunction in that state.”

“In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Feb. 21, 2020 decision to stay the statewide injunction preventing implementation of the Final Rule issued by U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, USCIS will now apply the Final Rule to all applications and petitions postmarked (or submitted electronically) on or after Feb. 24, 2020,” the agency said.

It added the policy would “prescribe” how the Department determines “whether an alien is inadmissible, and ineligible to adjust status to that of a lawful permanent resident in the United States because the alien is likely at any time in the future to become a public charge.”

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, earlier indicated that the rule change will ensure that those who come to the country do not become a burden even though they pay taxes.

“We want to see people coming to this country who are self-sufficient,” Cuccinelli said. “That’s a core principle of the American dream. It’s deeply embedded in our history, and particularly our history related to legal immigration.”

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