Trump Policy Favors Wealthier Immigrants for Green Cards – The New York Times

The rule has been the top priority of Stephen Miller, the architect of Mr. Trump’s immigration agenda, who views it as the most significant change to regulations that had encouraged migrants to come to the United States. Mr. Miller has repeatedly pushed administration officials to finish the regulation, known as the public charge rule, at one point telling colleagues that he wanted them to work on nothing other than it until it was completed.

L. Francis Cissna, the former director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, had resisted the rush to finish the rule, drafts of which were several hundred pages long and very complicated. But Mr. Cissna was forced out of his position earlier this year and replaced by Mr. Cuccinelli, a former attorney general in Virginia and an immigration hard-liner who shares Mr. Miller’s view that immigrants should not rely on financial support from the government.

The complex regulation, which is scheduled to go into effect in 60 days, would give the Trump administration a powerful new tool to narrow the demographic of people who come to live and work in the country. According to the new rule, the United States wants immigrants who can support themselves, not those who “depend on public resources to meet their needs.”

The ability of immigrants to support themselves has long been a consideration in whether they were granted the right to live and work in the United States permanently. But the Trump administration’s new move has made predicting the economic well-being of immigrants a more central part of that decision-making process.

An applicant who speaks English, shows formal letters of support and has private health insurance would be more likely to be approved than someone whose economic situation suggests they would probably need housing vouchers or enroll in Medicaid in the future if they were given a green card.

Over time, administration officials hope that the tough policy will shift the composition of the American immigration system by favoring wealthier immigrants.

Asked about the plaque on the Statue of Liberty that invites “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,” Mr. Cuccinelli said that “I’m certainly not prepared to take anything down off the Statue of Liberty. We have a long history of being one of the most welcoming nations in the world.”

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