Many immigrants who move to America fall within the middle-class to wealthy income brackets. They migrate with six figures in assets or bring a multi-million-dollar business. Even so, starting over in a new country is expensive for most people. Subsequently, many immigrants need a helping hand. This might require taking advantage of welfare programs while they get on their feet.

Unfortunately, choosing to accept welfare they qualify for might come back to haunt immigrants during the green card process. This stems from new decisions made by the Trump administration.

Public assistance programs affected

The U.S. provides several welfare programs that many people do not need to be citizens or even green card residents to take advantage of. Here are some of the programs that might affect the green card application process, according to CNBC:

  • Food stamps
  • Medicaid
  • Housing vouchers
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Supplemental Security Income

Additional factors taken into consideration include household income, education and health. It is not clear the weight accessing welfare benefits carry compared to the other factors.

Current laws in place

Federal laws already require people to prove they will not become an economic burden in the United States when beginning the legal immigration process. People who petition on their own behalf have to show proof of income and assets.

When family members petition on behalf of immigrants, they have to prove their own economic ability to support themselves and the relative(s) they bring into the country. However, the new rules broadened this scope to include public assistance programs.

In February 2020, FOX News reported that the new public charge rule came into effect. It believes the rule protects the American people and taxpayers by forcing immigrants to become self-sufficient from the start. However, many liberal activists believe that these rules ignore the economic realities people face when they uproot and move to a new country.