In September 2018 the Trump Administration proposed new rules that will harm legal immigrants. As a candidate, Donald Trump promised vehemently to deport anyone in the U.S. who is here without authorization. Now his actions and policies are trending toward a crackdown even against immigrants who are here lawfully.

People who have a visa to be in the U.S. are sometimes eligible to apply for a Green Card, an authorization that allows them to live in the U.S. permanently. Under current law, Green Card applications include consideration whether the person or family is likely to need cash government subsidies in the future, meaning they could become a public charge. Relatives can submit affidavits that they will help support the Green Card applicant. The affidavit has been sufficient to overcome the public charge disqualification.

The Department of Homeland Security proposes to change the factors defining a public charge. It will consider “totality of circumstances”, including the affidavit. This video from Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C. explains what that means and how it may affect people who would other wise be eligible for permanent legal status.

Advocates predict legal immigrants will opt out of assistance programs, including those that assist children for which they are, in fact, eligible, out of fear it will risk their legal status. Many legal immigrants fill vacancies in low-wage jobs. Without non-cash benefits many children will go hungry.

Proposed changes to federal regulations must allow a public comment period.If you are interested in commenting follow this link to theFederal Register issue published October 10, 2018. It contains instructions for submitting your comments and advocating to keep the existing definition the same. The deadline is December 10, 2018.