By David-James Gonzales, for The Salt Lake Tribune
Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli announced last week that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will be implementing a new interpretation of a long-standing provision aimed at deporting legal immigrants deemed by immigration officials as “liable to become a public charge.”
Under the new final rule published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, receiving SNAP benefits (a.k.a. food stamps), most forms of Medicaid, Section 8 Housing Assistance and other federal benefits will count as negative factors in an immigration officer’s consideration of applications for visa renewal, legal permanent residency (a.k.a. green card) and naturalization.
Despite DHS’s claim that the new rule is meant to clarify ambiguities under section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and National Act, the history of the provision’s implementation in U.S. immigration law is fraught with arbitrary interpretation, expansive application and outright discriminatory treatment towards vulnerable immigrant populations.
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