New Green Card policy puts Indians, South Asians at great risks

indica Washington Bureau


A Trump administration’s proposed law, which seeks to deny Green Card to all those who have been or might be a beneficiary of the government’s public assistance programmes, threatens to affect hundreds of thousands of Indians and Asians living in the US.


Opposing the development, various Asian and South Asian communities in the US said the proposed changes to the public charge regulations are an attack on immigrants, which will put them at great risks.


According to immigration organizations, such a proposal could hit legal immigration for years to come.


“The new rule would hit the South Asian American communities particularly hard, as over 10 percent of green card recipients in FY 2016 were from South Asian countries,” the South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a community organization in the US, said.


The legislation could have a major impact on Indians, mostly from the tech industry working in the US. As of April, there were 632,219 Indian immigrants and their spouses and minor children waiting for green cards.


According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services, in all 306,400 primary Indian applicants are waiting for their green cards. Clubbed with their spouses and children numbering 325,819; as many as 632,219 Indians in all are waiting for their green cards.


“The Trump administration’s proposed changes to the public charge regulations are an unprecedented attack on legal immigration. They signal an intent to abandon the basic principle that America is a land of opportunity for people, rich and poor. These proposals would break that fundamental promise,” Beth Werlin, executive director of the American Immigration Council, said.


“This policy will cost the United States in the long run by limiting the contributions of hardworking immigrants who could become legal residents, and no one is better off because of it,” president Todd Schulte said.


The proposed rule was signed by the Homeland Security Secretary on September 21 and posted on the website of the Department of Homeland Security.


“Many legal immigrants will be at serious risk of being unable to renew their visas or become permanent residents if they apply for certain federal assistance programs. The rule affects programs for children, many of whom are US citizens in mixed-status families,” said New York Immigration Council.


While Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the proposed rule will ensure that the immigrants won’t become burdens on American taxpayers, Congressman Tony Cardenas said it will hit US economy and American citizens.


“We are talking about people who are vital to the American economy and it is insane to threaten people who are legal, rule-following contributors to American communities. This proposed rule will hurt the grocery stores, farmers and healthcare providers. Our American economy will suffer. It just does not make any sense,” Cardenas said.


In 2014, the immigrants in US earned $1.3 trillion and paid more than $223 billion in federal taxes, while paying another $105 billion in combined state and local taxes.


“Rather than taxing the one percent, this administration chooses to punish immigrant families over and over again,” said Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT.


Also the proposed rule, according to many, would penalize immigrants, especially children, for using federal assistance programmes such as Medicaid and Medicare Part D and subsidized housing support.


“In their quest to shame and isolate immigrants to this country, the Trump administration is gambling with the health of children, wagering that their lives matter less because they were not born here,” Congresswoman Judy Chu said.


“The Trump administration’s ‘public charge’ proposal would force hundreds of thousands of immigrants to make the impossible choice between receiving basic assistance for food and shelter and risking being separated from their families, Congressman Bobby Scott from Virginia, said.


Before being enacted, the proposed rule is subject to a 60-day public comment period. There is a possibility of change in the proposed rule before it is being promulgated.


The latest move to crack down on immigration comes days after the Trump administration told a federal court its decision to revoke work permits to H-4 visa users.


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