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Trump Administration Making It More Difficult for Legal Immigrants to become Citizens

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As reported on June 6, 2018, the Trump administration will publish a regulation that will seek to bar a number of legal immigrants from applying for lawful permanent residence or citizenship due to the possibility of become a public charge. Officers would now scrutinize the intending immigrant’s current and estimated income, job history, job skills, health status, assets, and any family history of public benefits receipt. The USCIS proposed changes would mandate the consideration of specific non-cash benefit programs received by the applicant, the applicant’s children, or other dependents. Now, there are more details of this proposed regulation.

The regulation is expected to make it harder for legal immigrants to become citizenship or get green cards if they have ever used a range of popular public welfare programs, including Obamacare. Legal immigrants living in the U.S. who have ever used or whose household members have ever used Obamacare, children’s health insurance, food stamps, and other benefits could be hindered from obtaining permanent residence status in the U.S. Using some public benefits like Social Security Insurance has already hindered immigrants in the past, but this change is estimated to effect more than 20 million immigrants in the legal system.

In fiscal year 2016, the last full fiscal year under the Obama administration, 1.2 million immigrants became lawful permanent residents and 753,060 became naturalized U.S. citizens, according to data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Data from the first quarter of fiscal year 2018 indicates that the administration is on track for a decline in immigrants granted green cards by 20 percent. Although it is just a proposal at this time, this regulation will not need congressional approval as the Trump administration would be redefining the term “public charge”. To learn more about naturalization, please click here.

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