Green Card Rules to Limit Welfare Recipients

Immigration advocates are crying over the Trump administration's plan to enforce a 19th century law intended to keep newcomers to the U.S. from being a drain on American taxpayers.

The Trump administration is essentially trying to limit the number of immigrants who can receive green cards based on their use of government benefits.

“We have had a law on the books since 1882 that says in order to qualify to be a legal immigrant or visitor to the United States, you have to show that you're not going to be a public charge,” says Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies.

The government estimates it could save taxpayers over one billion dollars over several years.

“About half of all immigrant-headed households are using some kind of welfare program, and the biggest numbers are in Medicaid,” says Vaughan.

Critics argue it will punish poor immigrants for receiving even small amounts of government aid.

“They would like to be believe immigrants are nothing but a fiscal and economic plus for our country, but the truth is there is a lot of dependency on welfare programs among immigrants because they tend to be working in jobs that are lower paying and for less educated.”

The new rules will now go through a 60-day period of public comment, and could take months to finalize.

Immigration Fight

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