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Getty Images.

Trump’s administration may make it harder for immigrants to obtain permanent residency if they have received food assistance or other public benefits, Reuters’ Yeganeh Torbati exclusively reports citing a draft proposal.

The reasoning in the draft, per Torbati: “Non-citizens who receive public benefits are not self-sufficient and are relying on the U.S. government…An alien’s receipt of public benefits comes at taxpayer expense.”

Quick catch up: USCIS published its intent in December of 2017 to issue a notice of proposed rule-making changes to the definition of a "public charge." This means someone in the U.S. who is determined "likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence," and who may be denied admission to the U.S. under the Immigration Nationality Act.

This “could sharply restrict legal immigration.”
Yeganeh Torbati
  • A USCIS official told Axios “this proposed rule change would define the term ‘public charge’ and would outline DHS public charge considerations" for inadmissibility.
  • There is a need to change the public charge definition, per USCIS: "To ensure that foreign nationals coming to the United States or adjusting status to permanent residence...have adequate means of support while in the United States, and that foreign nationals do not become dependent on public benefits for support."
  • The benefits laid out in the draft would include some non-cash benefits, such as whether immigrants have enrolled children in a government pre-school program and whether they’ve received subsidies for utility bills or health insurance premiums.

What we're told: DHS Acting Press Secretary Tyler Houlton told Axios: “Any potential changes to the rule would be in keeping with the letter and spirit of the law – as well as the reasonable expectations of the American people for the government to be good stewards of taxpayer funds.” The Department of Homeland Security would not confirm a pre-decisional proposal.

Where it stands: The USCIS official told Axios the rule is expected to be published this calendar year. “But with any rule-making change, no decision is final until the rule-making process is completed," the official said.

Go deeper

40 mins ago - World

Australia joins U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Australia is joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of human rights abuses committed by China's government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Wednesday.

Driving the news: After the Biden administration's announcement that U.S. officials won't attend the Games due to the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, Morrison said at a Sydney briefing that Australia would follow suit as "it's the right thing to do."

Progressives to file resolution to strip Boebert's committee seats

Rep. Lauren Boebert walking through the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House progressives are planning to introduce a resolution on Wednesday to strip Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) of her committee assignments, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The move, which was first reported by the Washington Post, comes as progressives — anxious to see the right-wing firebrand face retribution for her recent comments — have grown frustrated by Democratic leadership's inaction on the issue.

Roger Stone won't cooperate with Jan. 6 panel

Longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone speaking in front of the Supreme Court on Jan. 5 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone won't cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and will invoke the Fifth Amendment right not to testify, his attorney said Tuesday evening.

Why it matters: The announcement, first reported by ABC News, came hours after former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said he wouldn't cooperate with the probe.