Trump Admin Cracks Down on Welfare-Dependent Immigrants as ‘Public Charge’ Rule Goes Into Effect

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A Trump administration rule that makes it harder for immigrants to land on welfare when they land in the United States takes effect Monday.

The so-called “public charge rule” has been contested by foes of the Trump administration but can take effect while the courts hash out the rights and wrongs of the matter thanks to a Supreme Court ruling on Friday, The Hill reported.

The court had earlier lifted an injunction granted by a New York-based judge, and on Friday did the same with an injunction imposed by a district court judge in Illinois.

The Trump administration had initially proposed the rule in August. The Immigration and Nationality Act makes it harder for an immigrant to get a green card if he or she is likely at any time after entering the U.S. to become what is known as a “public charge.”

“We are gratified by the Supreme Court ruling on Friday night lifting the final remaining injunction on the public charge regulation,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

“This final rule will protect hardworking American taxpayers, safeguard welfare programs for truly needy Americans, reduce the Federal deficit, and re-establish the fundamental legal principle that newcomers to our society should be financially self-reliant and not dependent on the largess of United States taxpayers.”

Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said the rule springs from President Donald Trump’s belief that self-sufficiency is as good for individuals as it is for the country.

“The main reason this got done is because we have a president who is determined enough to make self-sufficiency matter again in a meaningful way,” he said, according to The Washington Times. “That kind of entrepreneurial mentality is a natural for him.”

Cuccinelli said the real issue is not denial of green cards, but changing immigrant behavior to avoid welfare unless necessary, “which is actually a useful measure, at the margin, of who’s able to be self-sufficient.”

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“The goal is to make sure that people who are granted long-term status, legal permanent residence status, can stand on their own two feet. And get back to that American tradition that has been in law for over 140 years,” he said.

In introducing the rule in August, the White House said that the facts showed it was necessary.

“Large numbers of non-citizens and their families have taken advantage of our generous public benefits, limited resources that could otherwise go to vulnerable Americans,” a briefing sheet issued by the White House read.

The White House also said that “78 percent of households headed by a non-citizen with no more than a high school education use at least one welfare program” and “58 percent of all households headed by a non-citizen use at least one welfare program.”

“Half of all non-citizen headed households include at least one person who uses Medicaid,” the briefing sheet added.

Cuccinelli, who was acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services at the time the rule was proposed, said the dollars saved are one part of the wider picture.

“The benefit to taxpayers is a long-term benefit of seeking to ensure that our immigration system is bringing people to join us as American citizens, as legal permanent residents first, who can stand on their own two feet, who will not be reliant on the welfare system — especially in the age of the modern welfare state, which is so expansive and expensive, frankly,” he said during an August briefing on the rule.

“So that is — that self-sufficiency that has been a central part of the American value set for so long is critical for us and for taxpayers going forward. That’s part of the motivation for a rule like this. It’s part of a benefit that goes all the way back 140 years. This rule, as I said earlier, simply puts meat on the bones of that consideration,” he said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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