Yesterday, the Trump administration announced that in 60 days, they would implement a new “public charge” rule. Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, discussed the new policy yesterday during a press conference and outlined that immigrants on government assistance would hinder their process of legalizing proper status in the U.S.
In other words, if a person applies for a green card or visa, and the government sees that the person has used any government financial help—or may use it in the future—they will get their application denied.
However, Latinx immigrants rarely apply for any federal assistance. Latinx immigrants are already cautious of these kinds of government games, and they know that applying for federal aid may be used against them in the future. The majority of Latinx immigrants don’t want to ask for help. Latinx immigrants who come to the U.S. to work aren’t about to take a helping hand even though these benefits are set up for them.
Cuccinelli states that this new policy is to implement that immigrants who come here should not rely on the government for help. “Through the public charge rule, President Trump’s administration is reinforcing the idea of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, ensuring that immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful in America,” Cuccinelli said, according to NPR.
He also said the change in policy would not affect “asylum-seekers, military members, and children and pregnant women.” In that case, the people that it will affect is a small portion of people of the population in the United States. In 2016, it was reported that only 2.7 million people were on welfare. Of that group, the Huffington Post reports that 36.9 percent were Latinx, 27.6 percent white, and 29.1 percent black. That number shrinks, even more, when you break down who gets Medicaid. In 2016, 43 percent were white, 18 percent black, and 30 percent Latinx. In regards to food stamps recipients, 36.2 percent were white, 25.6 percent black, 17.2 percent Latinx and 15.5 percent were unknown.
These numbers reflect pre-President Donald Trump, which means some Latinx people haven’t applied for government help again fearing they would retaliate against them, and they were right.
So who is this new policy going to hurt? Hardworking Latinx trying to get by and trying to become citizens the “right way.” It’s going to impact those trying to feed their children and are having problems doing so because their government jobs don’t pay them a living wage.
One positive note, this new policy will probably not go into effect, not if legal immigration advocates have anything to say about it–they’re already planning to sue the Trump administration for its new rule. This public charge policy is merely another form of scare tactics by the White House.