LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — President Donald Trump has moved ahead with a rule change that would make it harder for legal immigrants to become permanent residents or U.S. citizens. The administration announced it is expanding the definition of the Public Charge rule to make it harder for legal immigrants to become permanent residents if they are likely to use government assistance such as Medicaid, food stamps, and subsidized housing.
“You know it’s about America first. I don’t think it’s fair to have the American taxpayer paying to have people come into the United States,” President Trump said.
“This is a rule that is going to impact, primarily, low and moderate working families,” said Marielena Hincapie, the executive director for the National Immigration Law Center.
The National Immigration Law Center is suing to block the rule claiming it is racially motivated. The government estimates about 382,000 immigrants will be impacted by this rule each year.
The new rule will also impact people in the Las Vegas valley.
8 News NOW spoke with an immigration attorney who is concerned bout the changes to the rule because many legal immigrants have had to use government benefits.
“I think everybody is in shock right now,” said Benson Lee, attorney. “This new rule makes a person impermissible if they have 12 months or more of public assistance. They use a 36-month period, and they count it double if you take two benefits.
According to Lee, changes to the Public Charge rule could create chaos for Latino and Asian applicants.
“When I speak about the Asian community, I’m talking about generically everyone from the Thai groups to the Koreans to the Filipino groups,” Lee said. “It’s going to affect across the board primarily the Asians because a lot of them are immigrants.”
“I think that’s a wrong move that’s very un-American there’s a lot of public assistance going on right now that is used by needed families,” said Duy NGuyen, the vice president and CEO of the Asian Community Department Council.
According to Lee, the new regulation will create a lot of confusion and fear; NGuyen agrees.
“This rule — proposed rule can create some paranoia when it comes to public assistance for those that truly need them,” said NGuyen.
Before the new rule change takes effect, lee encourages those that could be affected, to see what benefits they’ve been using and count the months. He also suggests looking at work status and where you are in the petition process.
The Asian Community Department Council are planning a meeting this Thursday to prepare along with their attorney who is on staff.
The new rule is scheduled to take effect on October 15.