A Proposed ‘Wealth Test’ Could Favor Immigrants Who Earn 250% Above the Poverty Rate, and it Could be One of The Trump Administration’s Most Far-Reaching Immigration Actions to Date

The Trump administration has proposed a rule to weigh immigrants’ income levels when determining whether they’re likely to be a burden on American taxpayers, and if they should therefore be prevented from legally immigrating to the United States.

The rule, published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, suggests strongly favoring immigrants whose households earn at least 250% of the federal poverty guidelines.

For a married couple without children, that means they would have to make at least $41,150, and for a family of four, their household income would have to be $62,750.

If enacted, the new rule would give immigration officers broad discretion to deny visas or green cards to immigrants who earn less than that.

Immigrants were already required to prove that the relative sponsoring them to come to the US earned incomes equal to or above 125% of the federal poverty guidelines.

But data from the Migration Policy Institute show that the proposed 250% threshold could dramatically reduce the amount of legal immigration into the US.

For example, 71% of all recently arrived immigrants from Mexico and Central America earned annual household incomes below the 250% threshold, as did 69% of Africans and 52% of Asians.

A separate analysis from the company Boundless Immigration found that the rule could crack down particularly hard on immigrants seeking green cards through marriage. Boundless estimated that 200,000 couples per year could face the choice of splitting up or leaving the US entirely.

“If it’s enacted as it is, it would actually be the most far-reaching thing that the Trump administration would do on immigration,” Stuart Anderson, executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy, told Business Insider.

By Michelle Mark for INSIDER
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