President Donald Trump issued an executive order last week that is expected to cut legal immigration by 65 percent by substantially curtailing chain migration, a process that has allowed family members of immigrants to easily enter the U.S.
“Chain migration is a disaster, and very unfair to our country,” Trump said during a weekly address last year. “The visa lottery is something that should have never been allowed in the first place. People enter a lottery to come into our country. What kind of a system is that? It is time for Congress to act and to protect Americans.”
Trump announced last week that he would suspend visas for immigrants who would not be able to prove they could buy health insurance. This is a fiscally conservative measure, as these immigrants would likely have their health care subsidized in some form once getting into the country. Trump’s policy could result in 375,000 immigrants fewer annual immigrants coming to the U.S., according to policy analysts.
“People who come here shouldn’t immediately be on public assistance,” a senior administration official said to POLITICO. “We should bring people here who contribute and not drain resources.”
Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation notes that the proposed rules are strict against immigrants, who would be denied the access to subsidies granted to lawful residents under Obamacare.
“They will need health insurance to be in the country legally [and] the only way they may be able to afford coverage is with ACA subsidies,” Levitt said. “But, if they buy insurance with ACA subsidies, it won’t count as insurance under the proclamation.”
The Migration Policy Institute reports that 34 percent of green card recipients who received them over the past three years were uninsured. An additional 31 percent have obtained health care that is subsidized through Obamacare, Medicaid, or some other type of government assistance. These types of individuals would be denied lawful entry into the U.S. under Trump’s new plan.
The rules do not apply to permanent residents legally in the country, refugees, asylum seekers, or children. Immigrants sponsored by family members and those from the diversity visa lottery will be impacted hardest by President Trump’s new rule. It is not as likely to impact immigrants with job offers who will have their insurance covered by their employer, safeguarding hard-working individuals who would actually contribute to the economy.
“These new rules are going to add to the confusion and fear surrounding recent immigration policy changes, discouraging lawfully present immigrants from enrolling in programs they are eligible for,” Levitt said.
Liberal special interest groups are freaking out over the Executive Order, as they do not believe that the Supreme Court is likely to overturn Trump’s proposed rules with the additions of conservative jurists Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch by the President.
“This is nothing less than a legal immigration ban,” Frank Sharry, executive director of the immigrant advocacy group America’s Voice, said in a statement.
While Trump’s new rules do not fully end chain migration, it applies an additional burden onto those trying to get in the country through the previously lax system. If these immigrants are not adequately self-sufficient, they are no longer allowed in.
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