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Asian-Americans and rights groups on Monday opposed a proposed law of the Donald Trump administration that threatens to deny Green Cards or permanent legal residency to all those who have been or might be a beneficiary of the US government’s public assistance programmes. Such a “sweeping proposal” could lead to the “largest decline” in legal immigration in generations, the American Immigration Council said.
The new regulations propose to redefine the meaning of the legal term “public charge” to penalise any immigrant applying for a green card or an immigrant visa from abroad if they have previously accessed or are deemed likely to rely on certain forms of public assistance in the future, the council said Monday. “The Trump administration’s proposed changes to the public charge regulations are an unprecedented attack on legal immigration. They signal an intent to abandon the basic principle that America is a land of opportunity for people, rich and poor. These proposals would break that fundamental promise,” said Beth Werlin, executive director of the American Immigration Council.
Werlin said many people now would be forced to choose between accessing the assistance they and their children need now or securing permanent legal immigration status to be with their families in the future. “Many legal immigrants will be at serious risk of being unable to renew their visas or become permanent residents if they apply for certain federal assistance programs. The rule affects programmes for children, many of whom are US citizens in mixed status families,” said the New York Immigration Council.
“This proposed rule would penalise many immigrants for using federal assistance programmes such as Medicaid and Medicare Part D and subsidised housing support,” it said. “The proposed change to ‘public charge’ is an attack on Asian-American, Pacific Islander and all immigrant families,” said Jeffrey Caballero, executive director of Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organisations. “If this reckless regulation goes through, families will be torn apart for getting the healthcare and nutrition they need. We urge the public to join a wide range of civil rights leaders who oppose this ugly ‘public charge’ proposal by submitting comments,” he said.