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Data: U.S. Department of State, National Foundation for American Policy; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Even before President Trump's new public charge rule took effect, his State Department was denying visas on related grounds 19 times more than at the end of the Obama administration, a new analysis finds.

Why it matters: Trump's new policies could supercharge efforts to keep out immigrants whom the government predicts might one day use certain tax-funded social safety nets.

The administration changed guidance for consular officials in 2018, which led to a spike in public charge denials for foreigners applying to permanently live in the U.S., Stuart Anderson, executive director for NFAP, told Axios.

  • "The impact was pretty significant," Anderson said. The much broader, more restrictive public charge rules, which are in effect at the Department of Homeland Security as well, could have an even greater impact on immigrants' chances of getting a green card.

The other side: Public charge denials can be overcome if applicants can provide State officials with enough additional information to prove they are not likely to rely on public benefit programs. That's happening more, but overcome cases are not keeping pace with denials.

Between the lines: Approvals of permanent visas for immediate family members of those already in the U.S. have seen some of the largest declines, per NFAP.

  • Families from Mexico, Dominican Republic, China and Haiti received 48% to 71% fewer immigrant visas in the most recent fiscal year compared to the last fiscal year under President Obama.

The big picture: A lot of attention has been paid to unauthorized immigration and border crossings. But Trump administration's "extreme vetting" policies are having a dramatic impact on legal immigration flows to the U.S.

  • The State Department approved 25% fewer total permanent immigrant visas last fiscal year compared to the fiscal year before Trump took office. The number fell from 618,000 in FY 2016 to 462,000 in FY 2019.
  • By 2021, Trump policies are projected to reduce the yearly number of new, legal, permanent immigrants — including refugees, employer-sponsored immigrants, diversity visa holders and others — by 350,000, NFAP projects.

Go deeper: The real impact of Trump's "public charge" immigration rule

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - World

Skripal poisoning suspects linked to Czech blast, as country expels 18 Russians

Combined images released by British police in 2018 of Alexander Petrov (L) and Ruslan Boshirov, who are suspected of carrying out an attack in the in the southern English city of Salisbury using Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, and also the2014 Czech depot explosion. Photo: Metropolitan Police via Getty Images

Czech police on Saturday connected two Russian men suspected of carrying out a poisoning attack in Salisbury, England, with a deadly ammunition depot explosion southeast of the capital, Prague, per Reuters.

Driving the news: Czech officials announced Saturday they're expelling 18 Russian diplomats they accuse of being involved in the blast in Vrbětice, AP notes. Czech police said later they're searching for two men carrying several passports — including two with the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

Indianapolis mass shooting suspect legally bought 2 guns, police say

Marion County Forensic Services vehicles are parked at the site of a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Friday. Photo: Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

The suspected gunman in this week's mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis legally purchased two "assault rifles" believed to have been used in the attack, police said late Saturday.

Of note: The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's statement that Brandon Scott Hole, 19, bought the rifles last July and September comes a day after the FBI told news outlets that a "shotgun was seized" from the suspect in March 2020 after his mother raised concerns about his mental health.

U.S. and China agree to take joint climate action

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry waves as he arrives at the Elysee Presidential Palace on March 10, 2021 in Paris. Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Despite an increasingly tense relationship, the U.S. and China agreed Saturday to work together to tackle global climate change, including by "raising ambition" for emissions cuts during the 2020s — a key goal of the Biden administration.

Why it matters: The joint communique released Saturday evening commits the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases to work together to keep the most ambitious temperature target contained in the Paris Climate Agreement viable by potentially taking additional emissions cuts prior to 2030.

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