Aug. 12, 2019, 8:37 AM CDT / Updated Aug. 12, 2019, 12:24 PM CDT
By Jane C. Timm
The Trump administration introduced a new rule Monday making it harder for low-income, legal immigrants who receive food stamps or other forms of taxpayer-funded assistance to stay in the country legally.
The rule would require immigrants applying for a change in immigration status (like a green card) or those seeking to come here to prove that they are unlikely to ever need public assistance, and can bar immigrants who had received assistance above a certain threshold from being approved.
Pressed on whether or not the rule would undermine the words emblazoned on a plaque at the Statue of Liberty — "give me your tired, your poor" — acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli disagreed.
"This rule will cover, for USCIS, almost 400,000 a year whose applications to become legal permanent residents will include a meaningful analysis of whether they're likely to become a public charge or not. I do not think by any means we're ready to take anything off the Statue of Liberty," he said.
Those analyses could include reviews of credit scores, assets, education, whether an applicant has private insurance they pay for without tax credits, and more, boosting the application of wealthier immigrants. These considerations are just one part of an immigrant's application for a new or different visa or residency status.