The Trump administration announced a new rule that will change how immigration officials decide which potential immigrants may need government resources to get by—what is being called a “public charge” to add dehumanizing words into the public discourse that further remove people from the discussion of policies about, you know, people!  For over a hundred years, this did not include programs such as basic healthcare and food assistance available to all people in the United States. When attempting to defend the change, USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli amended the poem placed on the Statue of Liberty, adding “Who can stand on their own two feet” to the line reading "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” He even said it was written for “people coming from Europe” (we’ll give you a minute to collect your jaw off the floor). Under Trump’s new rule, if any legal immigrant uses, or if the government feels they might be likely to use, “food stamps, Section 8 housing vouchers, or Medicaid,” they can be denied green cards. What this means, in the short-term, is that many legal immigrants already in the United States will be forced to choose between healthcare for their children and obtaining a green card. In the long term, it’s a clear effort to limit legal immigration. For these reasons, AAI opposed this absurd rule change when it was first proposed last year.

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