Date: 9:03 AM, September 23
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration said on Saturday it would propose making eligibility for permanent residency in the United States more difficult for foreigners living in the country and receiving public benefits such as food aid, public housing or medical care.
The proposed procedure from the Department of Homeland Security will include instructions for immigration officials to examine whether any person has received a series of subsidies funded by taxpayers' money, which under law determines whether a migrant is likely to become a burden on society.
The US Immigration Act has long required officials to exclude anyone who is likely to become a "public burden" if they have permanent residency. But the guidelines that have been in place in the United States for nearly 20 years narrowly describe the "general burden" of a person who "relies heavily on the government for his livelihood" either through direct cash assistance or long-term care funded by the government.
Trump's proposal represents a major departure from the current directives in force since 1999 that specifically prohibit authorities from taking such non-monetary benefits into account when determining whether a person is eligible to immigrate to the United States or stay in the country.
These changes will apply to applicants for a permanent visa or legal residence but will not include persons applying for US citizenship. "Under long-standing federal law, those seeking immigration to the United States must prove that they can support themselves financially," said US Homeland Security Secretary Kersthen Nielsen.
"This proposed provision will apply a law passed by Congress to encourage the adoption of migrants themselves and to protect limited resources by ensuring they do not become a burden on US taxpayers."