The Trump administration is considering making it more difficult for immigrant families to become lawful permanent residents of the United States if they use social services such as Head Start, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or food stamps.
Reuters and Vox first reported on the possibility. Vox posted a draft of the proposal, which has not been officially published. If it were to become a reality, however, it would mark a sharp departure from current rules, which do not allow authorities to negatively evaluate a green-card applicant who uses most taxpayer-funded public benefits.
The federal government has long been able to deny permanent residency to a person deemed to be a “public charge,” or supported by the government. Generally, direct cash benefits—welfare—and government-funded long-term care are considered in those determinations. The draft regulation would greatly expand the number of benefits considered to be part of a public charge.
A version of this article appeared in the February 28, 2018 edition of Education Week as Trump Team May Make Head Start, CHIP a Hurdle for Green-Card Applicants