President Trump’s new rule penalizing legal immigrants seeking permanent status for using welfare will go into effect Feb. 24, Homeland Security officials announced late Thursday.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is moving swiftly after the Supreme Court ruled lifted a hold placed on the policy by a lower court.
The new “public charge” rule gives USCIS officers the power to deny green cards to migrants who have a history of using food stamps, some forms of Medicaid, public housing assistance, welfare cash payments or Supplemental Security Income benefits.
“Self-sufficiency is a core American value and has been part of immigration law for centuries. President Trump has called for long-standing immigration law to be enforced and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is delivering on this promise to the American people,” said Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy Homeland Security secretary.
The policy is deeply controversial, with immigrant-rights advocates saying it could prevent poor migrants who can’t make their own way without assistance from gaining legal permanent status.
The new policy was to take effect in October, but was blocked by judges in a number of federal courts across the nation.
The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision still left in place one of those blockades in a federal court in Illinois, so the policy won’t take effect there, USCIS said.