President Donald Trump issued a new immigration rule on Monday that shows preference to wealthier immigrants, while targeting those who may have lower income.
According to the New York Times, beginning in October, immigrants seeking a path to citizenship will be subjected to an “aggressive wealth test” to determine if they can support themselves. Immigrants who are considered wealthy and not likely to need public assistance will be more likely to get a green card.
Immigrants who are determined to likely need assistance like food stamps and housing vouchers will be rejected, according to the report.
“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,” Kenneth Cuccinelli II, the acting director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services said of the new regulation.
Some Immigrants May Be Safe
Trump’s new rule will not apply to those who already have green cards, and it will not apply to refugees, asylum-seekers, pregnant women, children and certain members of the military, according to officials. Still, advocates believe that many immigrants who are already covered may refuse the benefits they need out of fear of immigration authorities.
“This news is a cruel new step toward weaponizing programs that are intended to help people by making them, instead, a means of separating families and sending immigrants and communities of color one message: You are not welcome here,” Marielena Hincapié, the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, told the Times. “It will have a dire humanitarian impact, forcing some families to forgo critical lifesaving health care and nutrition. The damage will be felt for decades to come.”
Trump has previously been clear about the immigrants he prefers and those he despises. In addition to his comments about “shithole countries” and Latinx people, the former reality TV star has also suggested that the US bring in more immigrants from Nordic countries.