Starting Monday, Feb. 24, low-income immigrants could be removed from the U.S., even if they entered legally.
It’s all part of the new public charge rule under the Trump administration that aims to keep people who need welfare, or will need welfare, from getting their green cards.
Immigration attorney Rebecca Black has been getting a lot of calls from people worried about what will happen to them come Monday.
“People are afraid,” she said.
Under the new rule, immigrants could be denied a green card or visa if they can’t prove they won’t become a financial burden on the U.S.
If denied, it’s possible they could be deported.
“They’re looking at what are you bring to the table in terms of assets, education, whatever to make sure you are not going to become a public charge,” said Black.
The ability to be self-sufficient has always been part of the screening process. Before this new rule, a family member was able to vouch for an immigrant, but now the focus is on the individual.
Black said some of her clients are worried that whatever benefits a family member is getting could affect their own application process, even if they aren’t receiving benefits.
“They’re not interested in collecting benefits that don’t belong to them, but at the same time, they shouldn’t be discouraged from allowing their family members who are entitled to those benefits to get them,” said Black.
There are some exceptions to the rule. Refugees, asylees, trafficking victims, domestic violence victims, pregnant women and people under 21 years old are exempt, among other special categories.
Black said the people most at risk are those who are trying to get a green card through a family member’s petition.
She has this advice for them.
“You probably want to go ahead and have health insurance lined up,” she said.
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