What the Trump Administration’s Most Recent Policies Mean for Immigrants Seeking Visas
Immigration policy has been in the news a lot lately. But between alarming reports from the Mexico border and stories about travel bans and visa waits, it can be hard to parse through everything and understand how this will impact those seeking U.S. visas. In this article, we’ll discuss what the Trump administration’s most recent immigration policies really mean for immigrants seeking visas to live and work in the United States.
The Public Charge Rule
On August 12, 2019, the Trump administration announced stricter standards for immigrants seeking legal permanent residence in the United States. Legal residents applying for a green card could have a tougher time if they’ve used public benefits like Medicaid or food stamps. Under the “public charge rule” green cards will be denied to those deemed more like to become heavy welfare users. The new policy is intended to decrease the number of immigrants with lower incomes and age or health-related conditions that might require expensive aid.
Which Countries Will be Affected
While the rules are not country-dependent, the new rules will place more emphasis on wealth, education, age, and English-speaking ability. The New York Times reported on a study from the Institute on Taxation and Public Policy from 2017 that showed that at least 81% of immigrants from Mexico and Central America will have at least one negative factor under the new rules, including unemployment, lack of education or school enrollment, low income, or those under 18 or over 61 years old. The study indicated that immigration from European countries will be emphasized over those from Mexico, Latin America, the Caribbean, or Asia.
The new rules could also decrease family-sponsored immigration. According to the Migration Policy Institute, more than one million immigrants are granted lawful permanent residence, or given a green card, each year. Family sponsored immigration makes up about two thirds of this amount annually. Family-based immigration is expected to decrease if it becomes more difficult for family members of U.S. citizens to acquire a visa based on age, health conditions, and income.
If not challenged in court, the new rules will go into effect on October 15, 2019.