Mabuhay and hafa adai! On Sept. 22, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security posted a notice of proposed rule-making regarding the issue of public charge as a ground for inadmissibility to the United States.
Once the notice is formally published in the Federal Register, a 60-day period of public comment will open. The submitted public commentaries will assist Homeland Security in formulating a final rule, which will likely go into effect in early 2019.
Even prior to the posting of the notice, much has been written about public charge as a ground for deeming a foreign national inadmissible to the United States. Numerous publications have accused the present administration of employing the public charge ground as a method of discriminating the poor and impoverished. Some articles claim the implementation of the proposed rule will encourage immigrant families to starve their children and discourage them from obtaining necessary medical treatments.
Expands definition of welfare
The application of the public charge ground to render an immigrant inadmissible to the United States is not a novel concept, nor is it exclusive to President Donald Trump or the Republican party. The United States has implemented some form of public charge ground as a method precluding certain individuals from entering the United States. Although the Immigration Act of 1882 statutorily formalized the public charge ground, the United States had already imposed prior conditions for denial of entry even prior to 1882.
The Immigration Act of 1882 not only imposed a head tax of 50 cents for certain immigrants entering the United States, but also precluded certain individuals from entering if they were deemed “likely to become a public charge.” At that time, individuals who could be deemed likely to become a public charge included single or pregnant women, the poor or disabled.
The main difference between the proposed rule and present policy guidelines, implemented during President Bill Clinton’s administration, is the definition of welfare benefit. Under the present policy, welfare benefits generally included only cash assistance and institutionalization for long-term care. The proposed rule is more expansive, and will include Medicaid, exclusive of certain emergencies or those provided through schools or disability programs, food stamps, Section 8 rental assistance and federal housing vouchers.
By Catherine Bejerana Camacho, For Pacific Daily News
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