As U.S. Customs and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli explained, this new ruling instructs immigration officials to consider dependency on welfare as one of the deciding factors in allowing people to stay in the U.S., either temporarily or permanently.
In a statement, Cuccinelli said:
“For over a century, the public charge ground of inadmissibility has been part of our nation’s immigration laws. President Trump has delivered on his promise to the American people to enforce long-standing immigration law by defining the public charge inadmissibility ground that has been on the books for years. Throughout our history, self-sufficiency has been a core tenet of the American dream. Self-reliance, industriousness, and perseverance laid the foundation of our nation and have defined generations of hardworking immigrants seeking opportunity in the United States ever since. Through the enforcement of the public charge inadmissibility law, we will promote these long-standing ideals and immigrant success.”
He noted that this ruling would not impact those relying on government assistance following a natural disaster or while pregnant.
In response, the Trump administration faced some backlash from those who believe this is an attempt to curb legal immigration into the United States.
Cruz, however, disagrees. The senator told IJR that he knows immigrants come for economic opportunity and jobs, not welfare checks:
“As the son of a Cuban immigrant who came to Texas to pursue the American dream, I have long supported efforts to improve legal immigration and help more workers create better lives for themselves and their families. Immigrants should come for jobs, not welfare, and legal immigration should benefit economic growth for all Americans.”
Cruz called the new rule “another important step” in strengthening the enforcement of existing immigration law and noted that while Trump’s announcement may be new, the rule itself is based on standards the U.S. has maintained for centuries.
“I believe the administration’s new rule is another important step toward clarifying and strengthening existing immigration law, which – based on centuries-old precedent – already prohibits illegal immigrants from receiving public benefits and already considers the potential use of public benefits programs in adjudicating applications to immigrate legally,” Cruz told IJR.
While Republicans are on board with the administration’s decision, some Democrats were less thrilled. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the rule “bigoted.”
This hateful, bigoted rule is a direct assault on our nation’s proud heritage as a beacon of hope and opportunity for all and a clear attempt to demonize and terrorize the newcomers who make America more American. It will be swiftly challenged and defeated in the courts. https://t.co/x5q4E6KpPD
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) August 13, 2019
It remains unclear if Pelosi’s claim that the rule will be “defeated in the courts” will come to fruition.