Trump changes mean only wealthy immigrants may apply, says critic

Progressive Igor Volsky on Monday criticized President TrumpDonald TrumpDemocrats, activists blast reported Trump DOJ effort to get journalists' phone records Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit Trump admin got phone records of WaPo reporters covering Russia probe: report MORE’s proposal to restrict green cards, saying the move would favor wealthy immigrants over poorer ones. 

“This country was built on the premise that everyone can come in, and if they work hard — if they work really, really hard they can make a better life, they can succeed they can employ other people, etc.,” Volsky, who is the executive director of Guns Down, told Hill.TV co-hosts Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on “Rising.”

“By changing the rules now, what Trump is really saying is ... that immigrants are a drain to the system ... and number two that only the wealthiest of immigrants can come forward,” he continued.

The progressive activist says this issue speaks to him on a personal level after having experienced it first-hand.

“When we came to America, my father I think had like $200 in his pockets similar to [Sen.] Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts Pollster Frank Luntz: 'I would bet on' Trump being 2024 GOP nominee Tim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls MORE’s (R-Texas) father ... and for a short time we did receive food stamps, but those food stamps allowed us a leg up,” Volsky said.

The Trump administration on Saturday announced a new proposal called the “Inadmissibly on Public Charge Grounds” that would deny green cards to immigrants who have legally used public assistance as part of Trump's overall trend of cracking down on both legal and illegal immigration. 

While immigrants have always had to prove that they would not be a burden on the government, this marks the first time the use of food stamps or housing vouchers would be a considered negative factor in determining whether an immigrant is eligible for a green card.

The move drew sharp criticism from lawmakers and pro-immigrant groups alike.

Rep. Luis GutierrezLuis Vicente GutierrezBiden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic primary fight shifts to South Carolina, Nevada Democrats rally behind incumbents as Lipinski takes liberal fire MORE (D-Ill.) issued a statement following the announcement denouncing the move.

"From the first day of the Trump campaign, the message has been that immigrants are a danger and a drain. Today he’s selling the lie that immigrants weaken the U.S. economy when exactly the opposite is true,” Gutierrez said.

The administration estimates that the rule would affect more than 380,000 immigrants per year. 

— Tess Bonn