Patterico's Pontifications

8/12/2019

New Rules: Green Cards Can Be Denied Immigrants Using Welfare; COMMENTARY BY PATTERICO

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:34 am



[guest post by Dana]

Per the administration, it’s a move toward “self-sufficiency”:

The Trump administration announced Monday that it is moving ahead with one of its most aggressive steps to restrict legal immigration, denying green cards to many immigrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance.

Federal law already requires those seeking green cards and legal status to prove they will not be a burden to the U.S. — a “public charge” —but the new rules detail a broader range of programs that could disqualify them.

Much of President Donald Trump’s effort to crack down on illegal immigration has been in the spotlight, but this rule change targets people who entered the United States legally and are seeking permanent status. It’s part of a push to move the U.S. to a system that focuses on immigrants’ skills instead of emphasizing the reunification of families.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officers will now weigh public assistance along with other factors such as education, household income and health to determine whether to grant legal status.

They don’t apply to U.S. citizens, even if the U.S. citizen is related to an immigrant who is subject to them.

According to Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,:

…the purpose of the rule is to promote “self-sufficiency” among the immigrant population.

“Through the public charge rule, President Trump’s administration is re-enforcing the ideals of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, ensuring that immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful here in America,” he said.

Asked about the impact on the poor, Cuccinelli said: “We certainly expect people of any income to be able to stand on their own two feet.”

And there is this:

Homeland Security officials say they made a series of changes to the proposed rules following 266,000 public comments.

The new rules go into effect this October.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

COMMENTARY BY PATTERICO: I was going to call it an update but I have no new information, just my opinion. I thank Dana for saving me the trouble of explaining what’s going on, making my job (OK, hobby) of commenting on it easier.

The elites are no doubt going to wring their hands about how this is cruel and racist. It strikes me as a common-sense measure, and eminently so. We are a country and we get to choose the criteria by which we choose our citizens. The primary attributes we are looking for are the ability to give at least as much as you take. Therefore, we would like to avoid, for example, criminals, people with communicable disease, and people who live off public assistance.

I see some people make the claim that Hispanic immigrants are on public welfare less per capita than citizens. I don’t know whether that is accurate, but if I had to guess, I would guess that to be true. If so, the rule should have minimal impact. The rule is not designed in any way to hurt people who work and give to society. Quite the opposite.

Yes, it may not seem ultra-compassionate, but we don’t have the resources to handle anyone in the world who would be better off in this country, so our compassion has limits — and part of that means that any safety net is reserved for citizens. Citizens get better treatment, and that is not inherently wrong. Communities must first take care of their own.

So, although this rule will not be popular with the Trump-hating elite, it’s a great step in my view.

64 Responses to “New Rules: Green Cards Can Be Denied Immigrants Using Welfare; COMMENTARY BY PATTERICO”

  1. Good morning.

    Dana (fdf131)

  2. I agree with this move. We can and should open our arms to welcome hard working immigrants. We can do that better by not importing dependency (and vote buying).

    Dustin (6d7686)

  3. “Federal law already requires those seeking green cards and legal status to prove they will not be a burden to the U.S. — a “public charge” —but the new rules detail a broader range of programs that could disqualify them.”

    I am usually against Executive law-making. In this case, it sounds exactly appropriate — the Executive formulating rules that enforce the will of Congress as expressed in legislation. If you have to prove you are not a “public charge” to get a green card, then being on welfare tends to cut against that.

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  4. I agree with Dustin and Bored Lawyer, but this sentence confuses me:

    They don’t apply to U.S. citizens, even if the U.S. citizen is related to an immigrant who is subject to them.

    In order for immigrants to get a green card, they must not be public charges but they also must have sponsors willing to be responsible for them financially. If their American families are on welfare, they should not be able to sponsor immigrants.

    DRJ (15874d)

  5. Good point

    Dustin (6d7686)

  6. ^^ #4 YES! ^^

    Colonel Haiku (2582ce)

  7. Frankly, my guess is the reason most legal immigrants (who have applied for green cards) are on welfare is because their sponsors are on welfare and showed them how to apply.

    DRJ (15874d)

  8. Long overdue! Even Canada assess immigrants based on their utility to Canada! What a thought!

    Another item that GWB and BO let slide.

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (0c349e)

  9. Good morning, Dana.

    I laughed out loud. Do you know whom this is squarely aimed at? The mother-in-law of the individual plaintiff in the Muslim ban case. No green card for her unless she brings one million dollars* (Click it! Click it!) with her.

    *(That’s the investment provision of the green card law that the Kushner family has also been selling to the Chinese.)

    nk (dbc370)

  10. In a “mixed” status / “anchor” household, the US citizen kid can get stuff, but the parents no longer or does welfare received solely for the benefit of the child (lets say instead of 4x stamps, the family gets 2 x stamps) not count against the green card pursuit of the parent?

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  11. Note this, from the document itself (https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2019-17142.pdf):

    > While some commenters provided support for the rule, the vast majority of commenters opposed the rule.

    They collected 266,000 comments and ignored them.

    aphrael (3f0569)

  12. Kushner’s family business uses the EB-5 immigration visa program to help immigrants buy their way into America instead of using family-based immigration (that Trump is trying to end). It used to cost $500k each but on 11/1/2019 the cost will be $900k each.

    DRJ (15874d)

  13. I think both, urbanlefbehind. No benefits for the non-citizen adult, and the benefits to his “household”, even though they are eligible, will count against him when he applies for a green card.

    nk (dbc370)

  14. I think that folks who think it is bad to require illegal immigrants to work should sponsor them, and be responsible financially for them. Whoops.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  15. DRJ — but there’s absolutely no possibility that the administration is making decisions based on financial benefit to Trump and his people, right? I mean, that would be swamp like, and everyone knows Trump wants to drain the swamp.

    aphrael (3f0569)

  16. That’s the law now, Simon. Even for relative petitions. For all my relatives, anyway. We had to show a certain household income and sign that we would be financially responsible for them. Even though the sponsored immigrant was a spouse.

    For a nephew here on a student visa we also had to provide health insurance and a small life insurance policy to provide for his funeral costs. This “new rule” is just nibbling at the edges.

    nk (dbc370)

  17. I guess I’m behind the times, DRJ. I was under the impression that the $500,000 was for investment in economically depressed areas, and it was $1 million for investment in normal America.

    nk (dbc370)

  18. How hasn’t this always been the rule? We also need to fix the rule that allows infants born to illegals to get welfare, WIC, and other government assistance and that doesn’t count as illegal welfare.

    NJRob (38b4bd)

  19. Illegals should have sponsors that will back them at every turn. And a million dollar money line in order to cross the border. Just to keep it for reals.

    mg (8cbc69)

  20. The $500k was for economically depressed areas but now that is going up to $900k. I think the minimum for other investments will go up to $1.8M.

    DRJ (15874d)

  21. Thank you, DRJ.

    nk (dbc370)

  22. Joe Biden should find out how many Indians bought motels, convenience stores, and Dunkin Donuts franchises to get green cards, but I am not criticizing them. At least most invested their own money and worked hard at creating businesses.

    DRJ (15874d)

  23. Where would I look for statistics describing the number of immigrants who receive public assistance, the types of assistance they receive, and the length of time that they receive that assistance? Without that information, it appears that discussion of the subject will be mired in airing hypotheticals(i.e.,the comment from urbanleftbehind).

    John B Boddie (11ac33)

  24. Hmm. I didn’t think about it until this minute, but that could explain why small businesses in black communities are owned by Arabs, Indians, and Koreans.

    nk (dbc370)

  25. COMMENTARY BY PATTERICO: I was going to call it an update but I have no new information, just my opinion. I thank Dana for saving me the trouble of explaining what’s going on, making my job (OK, hobby) of commenting on it easier.

    The elites are no doubt going to wring their hands about how this is cruel and racist. It strikes me as a common-sense measure, and eminently so. We are a country and we get to choose the criteria by which we choose our citizens. The primary attributes we are looking for are the ability to give at least as much as you take. Therefore, we would like to avoid, for example, criminals, people with communicable disease, and people who live off public assistance.

    I see some people make the claim that Hispanic immigrants are on public welfare less per capita than citizens. I don’t know whether that is accurate, but if I had to guess, I would guess that to be true. If so, the rule should have minimal impact. The rule is not designed in any way to hurt people who work and give to society. Quite the opposite.

    Yes, it may not seem ultra-compassionate, but we don’t have the resources to handle anyone in the world who would be better off in this country, so our compassion has limits — and part of that means that any safety net is reserved for citizens. Citizens get better treatment, and that is not inherently wrong. Communities must first take care of their own.

    So, although this rule will not be popular with the Trump-hating elite, it’s a great step in my view.

    Patterico (cd4630)

  26. It probably will help the Kushners, aphrael, but there are lots of companies that do this. They seem to consider themselves financial counselors and real estate investment advisors. I don’t have a problem with the financial aspects but it seems like buying green cards. Nevertheless, that’s not so different than the current family-based system. Having gone through it like nk, it is a long, arduous process that costs significant money and you do better with professional help.

    I think we will always let in spouses and children because America is a country that cares about the nuclear family. So the question is: Do we want a system based on the skills and money the immigrants bring in or the extended families they join? My preference is for letting in spouses and children but not extended family.

    DRJ (15874d)

  27. I didn’t think about it until this minute, but that could explain why small businesses in black communities are owned by Arabs, Indians, and Koreans.

    Exactly, and as a rule they have made America better.

    DRJ (15874d)

  28. 7… why/how in the world has this “new rule” not been in force from the get-go? In the absence of this or something similar, one would think there were forces with a vested interest in accelerating the growth of the welfare state.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  29. I agree with Patterico, but I wonder how this will play when California intends to extend all these benefits to ILLEGAL immigrants. This will leave legal immigrants at a disadvantage, since only they are (seemingly) subject to federal authority.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  30. why/how in the world has this “new rule” not been in force from the get-go? In the absence of this or something similar, one would think there were forces with a vested interest in accelerating the growth of the welfare state.

    It may have been waived by a recent president.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  31. Because for years we felt we would do better to let in immigrants with family ties to to American citizens or other immigrants with green cards … and that isn’t stupid. There is no guarantee that people who have skills or money will be more loyal citizens/residents. Having family here does give most immigrants a greater incentive to care about America.

    DRJ (15874d)

  32. 23: that information is often difficult to find. It does not support the narrative that we should all cheer unlimited immigration as an unqualified positive for us all.

    It seems to be even harder to get it from places that are sanctuary cities, counties etc. Can’t imagine why. Some examples however:

    7 years ago, using 650m in benefits for the US citizen kids(for LA County alone) you got here:

    “When you add the $550 million for public safety and nearly $500 million for healthcare, the total cost for illegal immigrants to county taxpayers exceeds $1.6 billion dollars a year,” Antonovich said in a statement. “These costs do not even include the hundreds of millions of dollars spent annually for education.”
    https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2013/09/16/undocumented-la-county-parents-projected-to-receive-650m-in-welfare-benefits/

    2017:
    Los Angeles paid out $1.3 billion in welfare to illegals in 2015 …
    http://www.city-data.com › … › Politics and Other Controversies › Illegal Immigration
    Aug 5, 2017 – 10 posts – ‎7 authors
    Illegals living in Los Angeles County were handed almost $1.3 … that an illegal immigrant qualifies for government based food assistance.

    Not saying it does not need to be spent. Once people are here, we can’t have separate groups w/o health care, education etc. But its not cheap.

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (0c349e)

  33. Kushner’s family business uses the EB-5 immigration visa program to help immigrants buy their way into America instead of using family-based immigration (that Trump is trying to end). It used to cost $500k each but on 11/1/2019 the cost will be $900k each.

    But they make up the expense in volume.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  34. OT, but a palate cleanser of sorts: Ben and Jerry have announced a new flavor in honor of this new campaign season… “Bernie’s Back!”

    Vanilla with chunks of skin tags and grey hair swirls

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  35. Great, Haiku! And now I’ll spend the afternoon wondering why a Trump supporter, that would be you, would want to derail this thread.

    nk (dbc370)

  36. Only for those suffering from ADHD, nk…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  37. Trump and family appear to love money, especially easy money, and it seems they will take great risks for relatively moderate rewards as long as its easy.

    DRJ (15874d)

  38. It seems to me that this advantages immigrants with family here who can support them at least temporarily, who can thereby avoid the welfare net if they lose jobs, etc, over those admitted with skills but no family.

    Kishnevi (2326a6)

  39. 37: As opposed to the Clintons, who use their foundation only for selfless projects, and eschew tony places like the Hamptons.

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (0c349e)

  40. The rich 1) never have enough money and 2) no amount is too little to garner.

    nk (dbc370)

  41. 34, Ben and Jerrys doesnt even have to upgrade their mixers or other equipment, just hire the grandparents of the the food tamperers in TX and LA.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  42. @ Kevin,

    29.I agree with Patterico, but I wonder how this will play when California intends to extend all these benefits to ILLEGAL immigrants. This will leave legal immigrants at a disadvantage, since only they are (seemingly) subject to federal authority.

    That’s the question, and not just for California, given that other blue states typically follow California’s lead. This is an interesting overview of a state-by-state look at government services provided to illegal immigrants.

    Dana (69495e)

  43. To nk @ 35, maybe he did like Pastor Sandwich and “harbored”, out of respect for the wife/BIL, for a few weeks – even that guy admitted that a few of his prospects washed out, didnt pick up the language and had no interest manning the register or painting nails.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  44. Once upon a time, immigrants came to the U.S. with the express purpose of being able to become self-sufficient by working hard, or starting a business, and providing a better life for their families. Thus family members were allowed to follow as it built a stronger community. However, I don’t think that is the case any longer, and I think that is borne out by the number that are on aid, and the entitlement attitude that has become so prevalent, and is encouraged by Democrats.

    I think this is a good move by the administration.

    Dana (69495e)

  45. 29.I agree with Patterico, but I wonder how this will play when California intends to extend all these benefits to ILLEGAL immigrants. This will leave legal immigrants at a disadvantage, since only they are (seemingly) subject to federal authority.

    Under this rule, they will never get a green card, they will remain in the shadows, and that’s how the Chamber of Commerce/country-club Republicans who want their labor pool to be as low-wage as possible aha-aha like it.

    nk (dbc370)

  46. 3. Bored Lawyer (998177) — 8/12/2019 @ 8:47 am

    I am usually against Executive law-making. In this case, it sounds exactly appropriate — the Executive formulating rules that enforce the will of Congress as expressed in legislation. This law goes back to 1885, (which is why a lot of people require “sponsors” and at that time, and since, Congress has certain kinds of situations people could be in mind.

    When Congress expanded various forms of public assistance to the poor, they didn’t mean for it to affect immigration law. Otherwise that would have been debated in Congress. Eligibility for different forms of assistance was. The assumption therefore should be that anyone still eligible for any of this assistance was not barred under the “public charge” clause.

    What they came up with is actually very subjective, and not all inclusive, because they didn’t want to include everything.

    https://www.nilc.org/issues/economic-support/public-charge-changes-to-fam/

    For more than one hundred years, the government has recognized that work supports such as health coverage and nutrition assistance help people remain healthy and productive. Thus, the use of these services has not been considered relevant in public charge determinations. Almost two decades ago, the government clarified that the use of services such as health coverage or nutrition assistance (such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, also known as “food stamps”) would not be considered in the public charge determination. Only the receipt of cash assistance for monthly income maintenance (such as Supplemental Security Income or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) or government-funded long-term care could be considered…The revised State Department instructions…include changes to the treatment of a sponsor’s affidavit of support, and the use of non-cash benefits by applicants, sponsors and family members.

    The key point is they didn’t say someone is ineligible for certain forms of assistance, like housing programs, which in many of these cases would be the more logical thing to do if that’s waht you wanted to do; and they didn’t do because they couldn’t do it. They just said if there was something on their list that an immigrant or their family members might take advantage of, they could be denied a visa.

    It’s been understood for decades that “public charge” means basic support. It basically does not mean things that did not exist anywhere in 1885. This is a change in the law.

    And it reaches relatively high incomes: At the point when they were proposing it they said that “if a person earns less than $31,000 per year to support a family of four, this would be considered a negative factor in the public charge test. And a person who supports a family of four would have to earn more than $63,000 per year for their income to be considered a heavily positive factor in this test.”

    But they would also allow, in certain cases, a public charge bond for a minimum of $10,000, to be posted in order to enter the U.S. This would be if it would otherwie be denied on the basis of income, a health condition, or certain other factors and they might then lose that money (forfeit the bond) if they used certain government programs.

    I don’t know how it all worked out.

    Sammy Finkelman (324ec1)

  47. The democrats will crawl on broken glass to vote in the next election to get their revenge 14 months away. democrats are moving to michigan, pennsylvania and wisconsin to register to vote to make sure.

    lany (7e6c72)

  48. So much patch work; so many overlays with interlocking issues and problems.

    Another department for the Office of Planetary Management. Never heard of it? Your kids will have to create it; their kids will reap benefits from it and their kids will curse their great grandparents and wonder why it took so long to see the need for it.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  49. Common Sense? Yes – of course.

    Funny, how no one in the past tried to sell increased LEGAL immigration by saying it would expand those on government assistance.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  50. This was not formatted right. Everything from:

    This law goes back to 1885.

    is mine.

    Never mind the excuse that not counting food stamps in public charge determinations was because “health coverage and nutrition assistance” are “work supports” that “help people remain healthy and productive.” It’s because they understood this would a change in the law, and they’d get it from members of Congress if anyone tried that back then. The real rule was that if someone would not have gotten any help from state or local government in 1885, it shouldn’t apply, and that was the true reason for not counting food stamps and other non-cash assistance.

    Even under the new rule Obamacare subsidies don’t count. If it affects too many people, the Trump administration knew not to do that, since it would make some marriages difficult.

    Sammy Finkelman (324ec1)

  51. #47 —

    Anyone who moves to Pa, Wi, or MI to swing an election deserves to live through a winter in WI or MI, or a summer in Philly.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  52. 38. Kishnevi (2326a6) — 8/12/2019 @ 11:10 am

    It seems to me that this advantages immigrants with family here

    It does, and family here advantages illegal immigrants even more, as they can pay the smugglers and provide a destination, as nobody goes anywhere asking for relief.

    who can support them at least temporarily, who can thereby avoid the welfare net if they lose jobs, etc, over those admitted with skills but no family.

    One thing here that may have stayed in the rule is the possibility of posting a bond of $10,000 or higher. It seems to me, though, that purchasing commercial insurance would be even better. But they are not interested in facilitating things.

    Sammy Finkelman (324ec1)

  53. This is a surprisingly a rational update to these rules/regulations.

    Gotta give kudos to the administration for this.

    No need to go crazy. Make these sorts of adjustment whenever you can.

    Any wagers to some Hawaiian judge would issue an injunction here?

    whembly (51f28e)

  54. Not move just register to vote their with local democrats alowing them to use their street addresses.

    lany (7e6c72)

  55. #55 —

    That sounds kind of illegal.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  56. Keep in mind these ‘rule modifications’ have been cattle-prodded along through the system chiefly by Reich Minster Stephen Miller.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  57. This is a Trump immigration proposal I can agree with.

    Paul Montagu (a2342d)

  58. 56… “That sounds kind of illegal.”

    “Illegal”? Illegal!?!? We don’t need no stinkin’ legal!”

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  59. > Do we want a system based on the skills and money the immigrants bring in or the extended families they join? My preference is for letting in spouses and children but not extended family.

    I have a problem telling an American citizen that they can’t bring in their ailing elderly relatives to take care of them during their years of physical and cognitive decline, as is culturally expected of them.

    aphrael (3f0569)

  60. We should not allow immigrants to come in who are likely in the future to become dependent on the welfare system.

    Sounds like common sense.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  61. I have a problem telling an American citizen that they can’t bring in their ailing elderly relatives to take care of them during their years of physical and cognitive decline, as is culturally expected of them.

    #MeToo as long as they take care of them. Our safety net cannot catch the whole world, or be its old folks home either.

    nk (dbc370)

  62. 55/56, those local dems are saps if those temporary boarders aren’t paying one utility bill for the privelege.

    urbanleftbehind (81c49b)

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