They would likely face higher income requirements after the new rule takes effect, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Trump administration has been seeking to limit those immigrants who might draw on taxpayer-funded benefits, such as many of those who have been fleeing Central America, while allowing more highly skilled and wealthy immigrants into the United States.
Announcing a new definition of the longstanding "public charge" law, the White House said migrants will be blocked from entering the country if they are likely to need public assistance. "It applies to anyone applying for an F-1 student visa, or an H-1B, or an extension of such temporary visas-plus applications for green cards by F-1 and H-1B visa holders", said Doug Rand, an Obama White House official who worked extensively on immigration issues and is the co-founder of Boundless Immigration, a technology company that helps immigrants obtain green cards and citizenship.
The final rule is part of the Trump administration's broad immigration platform that has continuously pushed for hard-line policies. Cuccinelli said this is necessary to make legal immigrants "self-sufficient and not reliant on the government to meet their needs".
Known as the "public charge" provision, the process evaluates a person's likelihood to become primarily dependent on government assistance.
The regulations do not apply to vulnerable populations seeking asylum or refugee status in the United States, victims of severe human trafficking, or victims of domestic violence applying for green cards under the Violence Against Women Act, per a USCIS fact sheet.
The new rule was issued by the Department of Homeland Security specifying that green cards - legal permanent residency - would be denied if those seeking it can not convince the consular officer that they will never use programs that the United States government doles out for its citizens.More news: Spectacular weekend forecast with sunshine, low humidity
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The ruling could impact some 22 million non-citizen legal residents of the country, and the estimated 10.5 million unauthorised immigrants, most of them-long-term residents.
Immigration advocates worry the new rules will scare immigrants into not asking for help.
The Los Angeles-based National Immigration Law Center immediately vowed to file a lawsuit challenging the changes that take effect in October.
Forty-four House Democrats in June co-sponsored a bill to try to block the rule as it was being developed.
Applicants will now need to show higher levels of income to get a visa and the rule greatly expands the list of government benefits that would disqualify them from obtaining USA residency.
But in New York City, where almost 20% of the population relies on SNAP benefits to help feed their families, officials have found that twice as many "eligible noncitizen New Yorkers are either withdrawing from or not enrolling in SNAP" than eligible US citizens, particularly in the past two years as rumors of the coming public charge rule have circulated, according to an analysis by the New York City Department of Social Services and the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs.