The American government is making considerations of making it more difficult for foreigners living in the US to get a permanent resident status if they had at any time been recipients of public benefits such as foods stamps from the federal government. Such a move has the capacity to restrict legal immigration into the United States by gigantic proportions. The Homeland Security department has given a proposal for new regulations that will authorize immigration officials to scrutinize potential immigrants into the United States and whether they have in a certain time in their residency in America, received benefits that were funded by the public such as food stamps.
The DHS said that the background check was critical in determining whether such citizens had the potential of becoming a burden to the American taxpayer. For instance, the immigrant would be scrutinized by US immigration officials to determine whether they had enrolled a child in pre-school programs which were funded by the American government or had been a recipient for subsidies for health insurance premiums or for utility bills. The draft regulations are a sharp contrast to the guidelines that have been in play for the last two decades. The current regulations bar immigration officials from looking at such incentives while determining a potential immigrant eligible for citizenship or permanent residency.
The document state that immigrants who public benefits recipients cannot sustain themselves and are relying on the US federal government together with local and state authorities for resources instead of private organizations, sponsors or even their family. The document continues to say that any alien who receives public benefits represents a burden to the taxpayer and that the existence of public benefits such as food stamps could be a motivating factor for people to immigrate into the United States. According to the document, it would be quite difficult for anyone who has received public benefits to acquiring US citizenship or even their children in the future if the proposed regulations take effect.
Almost 383,000 people who would have been subjected to these regulations acquired permanent resident status in the US in 2016 while they were already living in the US. However, the regulations will not be applicable to permanent residents who are applying for US citizenship but would affect a wide variety of people who are studying, living and working in the US including American citizen’s close family members and staff who have been employed by American corporations.