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Immigration law change could affect legal migrants

Some Indiana residents have raised concerns about the Trump administration’s approach to immigration, especially those with a personal connection to these issues. However, the administration has claimed that many of its initiatives are cracking down only on undocumented people or violations of the law. A new regulation issued by the Department of Homeland Security could drastically change the way that visa and green card applications from legal immigrants are treated, including those with all of their documentation fully in place. The administration announced its new understanding of the “public charge” rule in a press conference at the White House.

As traditionally understood, the “public charge” rule deems people who gain the majority of their income through direct government benefits ineligible for certain kinds of adjustments to their immigration status. Since the rule was put in place, it has always been interpreted to apply to direct cash aid only, like Temporary Aid to Needy Families or Supplemental Security Income. However, the Trump administration has now announced that it will apply the rule to other kinds of public programs, including food stamps, Section 8 housing vouchers, and many forms of Medicaid. Advocates say that millions of people could see the adjustment of their immigration status at risk as a result.

In particular, immigration lawyers warned that a public health and poverty crisis could result. Families would avoid getting health care or receiving food aid if their status could be put at risk, leaving vulnerable people at great risk. New York’s attorney general announced plans to file suit against the regulatory change.

This is just one of the changing facets of U.S. immigration law that may raise serious concerns among people planning to apply for green cards or visas. An immigration law attorney can help people to navigate the system and work to protect their status.