“Trump proposal would penalize immigrants who use tax credits and other benefits”

The Washington Post

“Immigrants who accept almost any form of welfare or public benefit, even popular tax deductions, could be denied legal U.S. residency under a proposal awaiting approval by the Trump administration…

“…According to a draft of the proposal…immigration caseworkers would be required to consider a much broader range of factors when determining whether immigrants or their U.S.-citizen children are using public benefits or may be likely to do so.

“Current rules penalize immigrants who receive cash welfare payments…But the proposed changes from the Department of Homeland Security would broaden the government’s definition of benefits to include the widely used earned-income tax credit as well as health insurance subsidies and other ‘non-cash public benefits.’

“The changes would apply to those seeking immigration visas or legal permanent residency, such as a foreigner with an expiring work visa. While they would make little difference to those living here illegally, it could affect immigrants protected by the ­Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program…if they attempt to file for full legal residency.

“…DHS officials say the proposal is not finalized. But the overhaul is part of the Trump administration’s broader effort to curb legal immigration, and groups favoring a more restrictive approach have long insisted that immigrants are a drag on federal budgets and a siphon on American prosperity.

“…DHS officials say the agency is preparing to publish the proposed rule changes in the Federal Register and invite public comment, but they have not set a date.

“…U.S. authorities have long had the ability to deny residency and other benefits to noncitizens who are dependent on public assistance. Concerns about such dependency were partly the basis for the family-based immigration model in place for the past half-century, requiring sponsors to assume financial responsibility for relatives they wish to bring into the country. 

“…One of the most radical changes outlined in the proposal would consider refundable tax income credits, including the earned-income tax credit created to help working families with low and moderate incomes. 

“…Under the proposed changes, immigration caseworkers would not consider benefits derived from service in the armed forces or some other government jobs, as well as disability, workers’ compensation and Medicare, unless the premiums are fully paid by the public. It would also exclude elementary and secondary public education and early childhood development programs in the Head Start Act.”

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