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

Updated 49 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 12,573,041 — Total deaths: 561,865 — Total recoveries — 6,915,740Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 3,213,902 — Total deaths: 134,420 — Total recoveries: 983,185 — Total tested: 38,919,421Map.
  3. Public health: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: "Please wear a mask to save lives" Fauci hasn't briefed Trump on the coronavirus pandemic in at least two months — We're losing the war on the coronavirus.
  4. Food: How the coronavirus pandemic boosted alternative meat.
  5. Sports: Charge of "money grab" by college football.
  6. World: India reimposes lockdowns as coronavirus cases soar.
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Rural America has its own coronavirus problem.

Scoop: Don Jr. plans convention-week Biden book

Cover via Don Jr.

Donald Trump Jr., in quarantine since girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle tested positive for the coronavirus, says he's used the time to finish a book that he'll self-publish the week of the Republican convention, at the end of August.

What he's saying: Don Jr., whose controversial blasts connect with President Trump's base, told me in a phone interview that "Liberal Privilege" will be his effort to paint a picture of Joe Biden and his record that the press ignores.

Romney calls Stone commutation "historic corruption"

Sen. Mitt Romney. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Saturday tweeted a scathing response to President Trump's Friday night commutation of former associate Roger Stone's prison sentence, calling the move "[u]nprecedented, historic corruption."

Why it matters: Romney has emerged as the party's most prominent Trump critic. He sent shockwaves through Washington after announcing he would vote to convict Trump in the impeachment trial — becoming the only Senate Republican to break ranks and vote for the president's removal from office. Now he is the first major GOP lawmaker to condemn Trump's Friday night call regarding Stone.