Harris: Trump 'public charge' rule part of campaign to 'vilify' immigrants

Harris: Trump 'public charge' rule part of campaign to 'vilify' immigrants

White House hopeful Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSanders revokes congressional endorsement for Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur The Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 Democrats trading jabs ahead of Los Angeles debate New poll finds Sanders surging to within 7 points of Biden in South Carolina MORE (D-Calif.) on Monday slammed the Trump administration's new "public charge" rule as part of an effort to "vilify" immigrants.

"It's just an ongoing campaign of his to vilify a whole group of people," the California senator told CNN.

"He is criminalizing innocent people, he is locking babies up in cages, he has a policy of separating children from their parents in the name of border security."

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The administration's new rule, which is set to go into effect in 62 days, would tie an immigrant's ability to secure residency or a path to citizenship with their use of certain public programs.

Receiving benefits like food stamps, Medicaid or housing subsidies could hurt a noncitizen's chance of getting a green card or visa. The "public charge" designation previously only singled out noncitizens who received cash subsidies.

The change has been criticized by immigration advocates who say it could discourage immigrants from seeking necessary assistance.

The administration has ramped up its efforts to curb legal and illegal immigration in recent months. The rule changes, including the public charge rule, are being challenged in court or likely to face a lawsuit.

"He wants everyone to be distracted from the fact that he has betrayed so many people and has actually done very little that has been productive in the best interest of American families," Harris said on Monday.