The policy, known as the "public charge" rule, was halted nationwide from going into effect due to the government's faulty reasoning as to why the new provision was needed. Judges have indicated a willingness to issue rulings before the scheduled start date.
Under Clinton-era rules, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services only looked at a few welfare programs to decide if a migrant was likely to become a public charge.
It also signifies a major legal triumph for a coalition of advocacy groups and Democratic-led states, counties and cities that challenged the rule through almost a dozen lawsuits in federal courts across the country.
A 2018 study by the Migration Policy Institute found 69 percent of immigrants who had received legal permanent residence within the past five years had at least one negative factor against them under the administration's test, while just 39 percent had one of the heavily weighted positive factors: an income at or above 250 percent of the federal poverty level.More news: USA envoy to testify in impeachment probe, against State Dept order
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The policy is central to Trump's longtime goal to slash legal immigration and gear it more for people with employment skills instead of toward family members.
Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, expressed confidence that the administration would eventually prevail and framed the policy as a legal attempt to ensure that those who settle in the United States can support themselves financially.
On average, 544,000 people apply for green cards every year, with about 382,000 falling into categories that would be subject to the new review, according to the government.
The rule, which was finalised in August, vastly expanded who could be considered a possible "public charge" from someone who would be primarily dependent on the government to someone who might at some point need government help such as food stamps or housing vouchers. Since 1999, that definition has been limited to those who rely on cash assistance or long-term care at government expense.
Similar rulings were made in California and Washington state.
The proclamation, published by the White House on October 4, requested that those seeking USA immigrant visas be covered by "approved health insurance" within 30 days of entry into the country, or possess "the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs". Immigration officials will consider an immigrant's age, health, education, and wealth to see if they are at risk of becoming a "public charge".
Under the new rules, the Department of Homeland Security has redefined a public charge as someone who is "more likely than not" to receive public benefits for more than 12 months within a 36-month period.