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New Public Charge Rule Could Slash Legal Immigration in Half

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“They failed in Congress, repeatedly. Now, they are sneaking through the back door to accomplish by fiat what they could not achieve by legislation”

In response to the Trump administration’s radical “public charge” regulation, the consequences and motives are becoming clear. With respect to its many consequences, one is that the new rule could slash legal immigration by as much as half. With respect to motives, Trump and White House Advisor Stephen Miller are using cruelty to keep immigrants down and out. In addition to enjoying the cruelty, their purpose is to mobilize as many white grievance voters as possible in hopes of consolidating political power.

According to the Migration Policy Institute

…the rule gives the administration enormous discretion to deny admission to intending immigrants with incomes or financial assets below 250 percent of the poverty line (about $62,000 for a family of four). This could significantly reshape immigration from Asia, Latin America & Africa.” MPI data show that 72% of Caribbean, 71% of Mexican and Central American, 69% of African, and 52% of both Asian and South American recently arrived, legally present noncitizens (“persons with green cards or legal nonimmigrant visas”) are in families with annual incomes below 250% of the federal poverty line. 

To no one’s surprise, only 36% of recent European, Canadian, and Australian/New Zealand arrivals are in families that fall below the new threshold. 

Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice: 

When they controlled the White House and Congress, Trump, Stephen Miller and nativist Republicans tried to pass legislation to slash legal immigration in half. They failed in Congress, repeatedly. Now, they are sneaking through the back door to accomplish by fiat what they could not achieve by legislation. Not surprisingly, the impact will fall overwhelmingly on people of color, especially U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are sponsoring loved ones. 

This decision embodies the worst of the Trump era. It’s a witches brew of unchecked authoritarianism, unbridled racism, and unlimited cowardice on the part of Trump’s GOP enablers. The good news is that the majority of Americans are onto Trump, Miller and their sycophants and oppose them. A moment of reckoning is just around the corner in 2020. For the sake of our democracy, our diversity, and our dignity, let us hope that majority wins the day.

Reuters New Trump Rule Targets Poor and Could Cut Legal Immigration in Half, Advocates Say

The long-anticipated rule, pushed by Trump’s leading aide on immigration, Stephen Miller, takes effect Oct. 15….

“The Trump administration is trying to bypass Congress and implement its own merit based-immigration system. It’s really a backdoor way of prohibiting low-income people from immigrating,” said Charles Wheeler of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc.


“This is an end run around Congress to achieve through executive fiat what the administration cannot get through Congress,” said Doug Rand, co-founder of Boundless, a pro-migrant group that helps families navigate the U.S. immigration system.

The rule is intended to scare immigrants away from using public benefits to which they are legally entitled, Rand said, adding that a study by Boundless found it could eliminate more than half of visa applicants.

A 2018 study by the Migration Policy Institute found 69 percent of already established immigrants had at least one negative factor against them under the administration’s wealth test, while just 39 percent had one of the heavily weighed positive factors.

Los Angeles Times by Molly O’Toole, Giulia McDonnell and Nieto Del Rio:

“Without a single change in the law by Congress, the Trump public charge rules mean many more U.S. citizens are being and will be denied the opportunity to live together in the U.S. with their spouses, children and parents,” said Ur Jaddou, a former Citizenship and Immigration Services chief counsel.

The new rules come at a time of increased criticism over Trump’s hard-line policies and his rhetoric, which opponents say have helped provoke deadly violence. On Aug. 3, 22 people were killed and dozens injured in a mass shooting in El Paso. The shooting suspect told authorities he targeted Mexicans in the attack.

Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, said of the new rules, “This policy denies a permanent, secure future in this country to anyone who isn’t white and wealthy.”

Washington Post syndicated columnist Eugene Robinson, “Trump’s claim that he supports legal immigration turns out to be a lie”

The erratic Trump administration has had just one consistent policy principle, one guiding North Star: punitive and often sadistic treatment of nonwhite immigrants.

President Trump’s claim that he supports legal immigration, as opposed to the undocumented “invasion” he rails against, turns out to be — big surprise — a lie. On Monday, the administration proved its antagonism toward those who “stand in line” and “come in the right way” by issuing a new rule forcing many legal immigrants to make an impossible choice: accept needed government benefits to which they are fully entitled, or preserve their chances of obtaining permanent residence.

…Long advocated by White House adviser Stephen Miller, the Torquemada of the immigration inquisition, the new policy is a major step in Trump’s crusade to Make America White Again. If it survives court challenges, the new rule could dramatically reduce legal — I repeat, legal — immigration from low-income countries. Not just coincidentally, I am sure, this means fewer black and brown people would be granted resident status.

Trump’s message to the world: Keep your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. As he memorably and disgracefully put it: “Our Country is FULL!”

…Sensible immigration reform would provide the law-abiding undocumented with a pathway to legal status and citizenship. But the Republican Party blocks action because it is terrified that these immigrants would eventually become Democrats. I wonder why.

…Cruelty isn’t a sideshow in the way Trump deals with nonwhite immigrants. It’s the main event.

Chicago Sun-Times editorial: Trump’s new immigration rule just another way to say ‘Send them back’

Give us your PhD’s, your sports stars, your supermodels yearning to be free. The privileged of your teeming shore. Send these, the well-heeled, the tempest-tossed yacht owners. I lift my Tiffany lamp beside the golden Mar-a-Lago door!

— A Trump administration rewrite of the words on the Statue of Liberty

Pretty much everybody who is an American, with the exception of the indigenous peoples, arrived in this country dirt poor or is descended from somebody who arrived here dirt poor or in chains. Whether from Ireland, Italy, Somalia or Vietnam, we are a proud nation of the tired and the poor — the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” — who started from nothing and built good lives.

…And now, on Monday, the Trump administration unveiled a rule that could deny visas and permanent residency to hundreds of thousands of other immigrants for the sole crime of being poor.

The rule, scheduled to take effect on Oct. 15, says applicants for green cards and visas can be turned down if they have low incomes or little education or have used — or might be expected to use — benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers.

The point, says the Trump administration, is to encourage “self-reliance and self-sufficiency” among new immigrants, which seems fair enough. But our nation has always expected new immigrants to quickly stand on their own two feet. And it has always provided short-term assistance — public and private — to help them do so.

Until, apparently, now.

…What’s driving this latest assault on immigration looks to us like pure white nationalism. This is a president who has always had a particular problem seeing people of color — whether a Mexican American judge, the Pakistan American parents of a slain soldier or a Puerto Rican member of Congress from New York — as fully committed Americans.

Monday’s new rule, designed to limit immigration by poor people, is an 837-page legal document in the service of a three-word rallying cry: “Send them back.”

The Statue of Liberty might want to retire.

Paul Waldman in the Washington Post: The Trump administration ramps up its war on legal immigration

For many years, whenever someone accused Republicans of being anti-immigrant, they would insist that they are actually pro-immigrant and that they opposed only illegal immigration. As long as people come legally, they would say, we welcome them.

So how many Republicans have raised their voices in opposition to the Trump administration’s efforts not only to slash legal immigration but also to push out legal immigrants who are already here?


As I have argued before, Trump’s efforts on immigration will fail to achieve their ultimate objective. America will continue to be a nation of immigrants, whites will continue to decline as a proportion of the population, this generation’s immigration wave will be followed by others just as we saw previous waves from Asia and Europe, and the tide of change will not be reversed. America cannot be made white again, no matter how hard Trump tries.