Crackdown On Immigrants Who Use Public Benefits Takes Effect

Posted on 02/28/20

A large Phoenix Arizona community of immigrants lined up outside a government social service building to obtain food stamps and medicaid. This comes as the Trump administration puts in to place some of the strictest regulations on immigrants who utilize or may be using such government services. Pastor Antonio Velasquez has been at the forefront for advocating to protect immigrants rights. “You had to arrive at 3 in the morning, and it might take you until the end of the day,” he said, lines were going across the block as immigrants waited outside. With new rules taking effect Monday that disqualify more people from green cards if they use government benefits, droves of immigrants, including citizens and legal residents, have stopped utilizing services in fear that they or their children may be deported for depending on the services. “This will bring more poverty, more homeless, and more illness,” said Velasquez, a well-known leader among Spanish-speaking immigrants in the Phoenix area.

Many advocates throughout the country criticized the policy for in effect disqualifying thousands of immigrants due to the fear of deportation. “Participants at a New York City roundtable said that in anticipation of the change, neighborhoods with higher immigrant populations had seen enrollment declines in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC.” Many encouraged immigrants to speak to legal representatives to ensure their rights aren’t being infringed upon. Many Haitian immigrants fear that using services will restrict their family from getting citizenship. This has impacted communities across the country, in an effort to reduce immigration. The United States deemed those who may become a burden to the government will be ineligible for services and their prospects of legal residency would be hindered therefore. This wealth test affects poorer communities and promotes higher immigration from wealthier, developed countries. The rules were set to take effect in October but were delayed by legal challenges.

The Supreme Court later upheld the Trump administrations order which cleared the way for the Trump administration to move forward while the rules were litigated in various circuit courts. This has become one of the largest victories for the Trump administration. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Saturday that the change will “reestablish the fundamental legal principle that newcomers to our society should be financially self-reliant and not dependent on the largess of United States taxpayers.” Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy Homeland Security secretary, said Monday the government expects “people seeking to be long-term immigrants here, and maybe join us as citizens, will be able to stand on their own two feet.” He said the rules were “a major priority for the president.”Federal law already requires those seeking residency that they wont reply to the Government for services. But the new rules include programs including using Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers that may disqualify them from citizenship.

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