Article Marianne P. Bitler

How and When Immigrants’ Use of Government Benefits Might Affect Their Legal Status
Marianne Bitler Quoted in the Bonner County Daily Bee

Bonner County Daily Bee
August 27, 2019

A new rule to restrict legal immigration, published by the Trump administration this month, is sowing confusion and anxiety even among immigrants not directly affected by it, as fear spreads faster than facts, immigration and health policy experts say.

The rule would allow the federal government to more easily deny permanent residency status, popularly known as green cards, or entry visas to applicants who use — or are deemed likely to use — federally funded food stamps, housing assistance and Medicaid.

Immigrants seeking legal status are already required to prove they will not become a financial burden, or “public charge,” to U.S. taxpayers. Under existing law, a “public charge” is defined as somebody who is “ primarily dependent on the government for subsistence,” which means they either receive cash aid or long-term institutional care at the government’s expense.