The Trump administration announced a new, far-reaching regulation that appears clear-cut on paper: prevent immigrants from obtaining visas or green cards if they are likely to receive Medicaid, food stamps, housing benefits, or other government subsidies is only half the story.
It’s much bigger than government subsidies.
The rule puts the country on a path towards a profoundly new immigration system — while Congress sits on the sideline. The change could reduce family-based immigration from “lower-income, less educated people in countries like China, Mexico, and Cuba,” according to Vox.
The impact to legal immigration would include individuals already in the country who seek to adjust to another visa or extend an existing one (including highly-skilled students). It would dramatically slow down the process of who can enter the country thanks to additional government scrutiny. It would change how the government considers additional factors including age, health, education and skills.
The rule’s immediate aim is to start scaring people now. The goal is to confuse, to convey to immigrants already here that they ought not to use public benefits. There’s already evidence that many immigrants are turning down subsidies they — and their children — rely on out of an abundance of caution.