White House moves to ensure non-citizens ‘do not abuse our nation’s public benefit’

by WorldTribune Staff, August 13, 2019

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Aug. 12 announced it would amend current regulations to ensure non-citizens aren’t abusing U.S. public assistance programs.

DHS said the regulation would ensure those who seek to “enter and remain in the United States — either temporarily or permanently — are self-sufficient and rely on their own capabilities and the resources of family members, sponsors, and private organizations rather than on public resources.”

USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. / Public Domain

“This final rule amends DHS regulations by prescribing how DHS will determine whether an alien is inadmissible to the United States based on his or her likelihood of becoming a public charge at any time in the future, as set forth in the Immigration and Nationality Act,” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said in an Aug. 12 press release.

“The final rule addresses U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) authority to permit an alien to submit a public charge bond in the context of adjustment of status applications. The rule also makes nonimmigrant aliens who have received certain public benefits above a specific threshold generally ineligible for extension of stay and change of status.”

USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said: “For over a century, the public charge ground of inadmissibility has been part of our nation’s immigration laws. President Trump has delivered on his promise to the American people to enforce long-standing immigration law by defining the public charge inadmissibility ground that has been on the books for years.”

Cuccinelli added: “Throughout our history, self-sufficiency has been a core tenet of the American dream. Self-reliance, industriousness, and perseverance laid the foundation of our nation and have defined generations of hardworking immigrants seeking opportunity in the United States ever since. Through the enforcement of the public charge inadmissibility law, we will promote these long-standing ideals and immigrant success.”

According to the USCIS release, DHS has revised the definition of “public charge” to incorporate “consideration of more kinds of public benefits received, which the Department believes will better ensure that applicants subject to the public charge inadmissibility ground are self-sufficient.”

The rule defines the term “public charge” to mean an individual who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months, in the aggregate, within any 36-month period (such that, for instance, receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months).

The rule further defines the term “public benefit” to include any cash benefits for income maintenance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), most forms of Medicaid, and certain housing programs.

According to USCIS, “This final rule supersedes the 1999 Interim Field Guidance on Deportability and Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds and goes into effect at midnight Eastern, Oct. 15, 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.”

Meanwhile, the Daily Caller noted in an Aug. 12 report that a CBS Radio personality implied that the poem on the Statue of Liberty should set U.S. immigration policy.

CBS’s Steve Portno asked Cuccinelli during an Aug. 12 press conference whether the Trump administration planned to do away with the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty.

“As along as the public charge rule as been in effect since the late 1800s there’s also been — almost as long — the words at the base of the Statue of Liberty that read, ‘Give us your tired, your poor,’ ” Portno said. “You’re implementing a public charge rule for the first time. Is that sentiment, ‘Give us your tired, your poor,’ still operative in the United States or should those words come down? Should the plaque come down on the Statue of Liberty?”

Portno was responding to the new Trump administration policy that seeks to keep non-citizens from abusing federal government programs, the Daily Caller noted.

Cuccinelli responded that he was “certainly not prepared” to remove anything from the Statue of Liberty.

The Daily Caller noted that “Others have used the words of that poem, written by Emma Lazarus, to suggest that immigration should be unlimited.”

Kamala Harris tweeted in January: “Emma Lazarus’s words, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” speaks to the true character of what our country can be: a generous country that respects and embraces those who have made the difficult journey to our shores, often fleeing harm.”

Daily Caller associate editor Virginia Kruta wrote: “But what most fail to acknowledge is that, while the United States accepts approximately 1 million legal immigrants annually — in addition to those who enter the country illegally — Ellis Island only processed 12 million immigrants total over the course of six decades.”

GiT Magazine noted: “The most common reason for rejection was a concern by immigration officials that the person may become a ward of the state. This could be due to health issues (especially a fairly common eye disease called trachoma, which led to blindness), mental illness or lack of sufficient funds for immigrants to support themselves.”

Read the full USCIS release here

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