Aug 12, 2019

Trump administration to penalize immigrants likely to use public benefits

A woman and her daugher fill out an application for food stamps. Photo: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A rule that would penalize immigrants who use or are likely to use public benefit programs such as food stamps, housing assistance or Medicaid will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The long-anticipated rule will make it much harder for immigrants with low incomes or low levels of education to obtain visas or green cards. It will also be much harder for immigrants already in the U.S. to stay longer, change their immigration status or become citizens if they have used any of the specified safety net programs.

  • The rule would also likely create a "chilling effect" on immigrants who are eligible to use certain public benefit programs, but choose not to out of fear of being penalized, according to immigration experts. Immigrants reportedly began turning down food stamps after early reports about the rule last year.
  • Worth noting: Not all immigrants even qualify for public benefit programs, as most need to have to have been in the U.S. for 5 years.

What's next: The new rule will go into effect 60 days after it is published in the register. At the same time, the Trump administration is planning to find ways to force immigrant sponsors to pay the government back for any use of public benefits by the immigrants they've sponsored. Trump gave government agencies 90 days to implement such rules in a May memo.

The bottom line: This is all part of the Trump administration's attempts to move toward what it calls a merit-based immigration system — and a part of its broader attempts to slow most forms of immigration to the U.S.

Go deeper: Trump's welfare crackdown targets immigrants

Go deeper

Amid racial unrest, a test at the polls

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Eight states plus D.C. are holding primary elections today following a week of intense protests across the country over the brutal police killing of George Floyd.

Why it matters: It's the first major test for voting since the national outcry. Concerns over civil unrest and the police — as well as the coronavirus and expanded absentee voting — could reduce the number of voters showing up in person but heighten tensions for those who do.

Axios-Ipsos poll: America’s big racial divide on police, virus

Data: Ipsos/Axios survey; Note: ±3.2% margin of error; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

A new Axios-Ipsos poll finds that America has a massive racial gulf on each of our twin calamities — trust in police, and fear of the coronavirus.

  • 77% of whites say they trust local police, compared with just 36% of African Americans — one of many measures of a throbbing racial divide in Week 11 of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index, taken the week George Floyd was killed by a white policeman in Minneapolis.
Updated 47 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Updates: George Floyd protests nationwide

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued for a seventh day across the U.S., with President Trump threatening on Monday to deploy the military if the unrest continues.

The latest: Four police officers were struck by gunfire while standing near a line in St Louis on Monday after a peaceful demonstration, Police Chief John Hayden said early Tuesday. They were all taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He said a small group of people had thrown rocks and fireworks at police officers.