Trump green card policy: New rule for legal immigration criticized for targeting the poor

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new rule could limit legal immigration in the U.S. The Trump administration policy would deny green cards to many immigrants who are receiving some form of public assistance.

The new policy is part of a broader effort by the president to overhaul the immigration system and focus on making sure immigrants who come here legally are self-sufficient and won't need to rely on public aid. But critics said it targets the poor and will create more fear for families already here.

Federal law already requires immigrants seeking to become permanent residents or gain legal status to prove they won't be a burden to the U.S. but the new White House regulations would go even further.

"Our rule generally prevents aliens who are likely to become a public charge from coming to the United States or remaining here and getting a green card," said Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

"I would say to the Trump Administration, you're wrong again, you're going after the wrong people," said Sen. Dick Durbin, (D-IL).

Durbin held a round table meeting with Latino leaders Monday, who raised concerns about the impact of the regulation which would deny green cards to those who use food stamps, housing vouchers, Medicaid or other public assistance for more than a year during a three year period.

"If you have an undocumented family member living under your household as an individual, are you then violating if that food you brought to the table is being shared in that home," said Karina Ayala-Bermejo, CEO Institute del Progresso Latino.

ABC7 spoke with a young mother who lives with undocumented family members in Little Village and worries the new policy be a real hardship for her family, some of whom get public aid.

"I don't think it's fair because then the kids that are born here, or even if they're not, they should be able to get food regardless if they're from here or not," said 21 year old Rocio.

"I think our community is fed up, our community there is a lot of genuine fears and we're being proactive, not just reactive," said Raul Raymundo, CEO Resurrection Project.

Durbin accused the Trump Administration of simply trying to rile up his base.

"They are trying to create this image of getting tough on immigration," Durbin said.

The new regulations will take effect October 15, but already the National Immigration law Center has announced it will be filing a lawsuit challenging the new policy, and others could follow.
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