Trump weighs rules targeting immigrants who receive public benefits: report

Trump weighs rules targeting immigrants who receive public benefits: report
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The Trump administration is reportedly weighing new rules that could make it difficult for foreigners who have received public benefits from getting permanent residency in the U.S.

The new rules being drafted by the Department of Homeland Security would let officials look at certain taxpayer-funded public benefits to decide if a potential immigrant should be eligible to immigrate to the U.S., Reuters reported.

This could include whether a person has gotten subsidies for health insurance premiums or enrolled a child in government pre-school programs.

“Non-citizens who receive public benefits are not self-sufficient and are relying on the U.S. government and state and local entities for resources instead of their families, sponsors or private organizations,” the document says, according to Reuters.

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“An alien’s receipt of public benefits comes at taxpayer expense and availability of public benefits may provide an incentive for aliens to immigrate to the United States.”

Tyler Houlton, a DHS spokesman, said the Trump administration is "committed to enforcing existing immigration law, which is clearly intended to protect the American taxpayer."

“Any potential changes to the rule would be in keeping with the letter and spirit of the law – as well as the reasonable expectations of the American people for the government to be good stewards of taxpayer funds," Houlton said, according to Reuters.

Currently, immigration officials are told that a person who is likely to become a "public charge" should not receive permanent residency.

That is defined as a person who is "primarily dependent on the government for subsistence." Immigration officials currently are told not to look into most non-cash benefits that a person receives — including government food assistance programs or pre-school programs — when deciding whether a person will be a burden.

Under the new rules that were drafted, a person who depends on “any government assistance in the form of cash, checks or other forms of money transfers, or instrument and non-cash government assistance in the form of aid, services, or other relief" would be looked at as a "public charge."