The Trump administration announced a rule change on Monday that would enable officials to deny green cards to migrants if they believe the recipients will receive public benefits like food stamps, Medicaid, or housing vouchers.
The so-called “public charge” rule has been a top priority for immigration hardliners in the White House. It 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. The rule can also bar immigrants who had received assistance above a certain threshold from being approved.
“To protect benefits for American citizens, immigrants must be financially self-sufficient,” Trump said in a statement.
The updated rule will go into effect on October 15.
The move saw immediate opposition and is expected to draw legal challenges from immigrant rights groups and others. The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) called the policy a “bald-faced attack on immigrant families” on Twitter.
“Trump’s public charge rule is a xenophobic and classist attack on immigrants,” said NYIC. “It won’t go into effect until October 15, and we’ll keep fighting it so all immigrants can lead healthy and safe lives.”