U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration unveiled a sweeping rule on Monday that would limit legal immigration by denying visas and permanent residency to hundreds of thousands of people for being too poor, Trend reports citing Reuters.
The long-anticipated rule, pushed by Trump’s leading aide on immigration Stephen Miller, takes effect Oct. 15 and would reject applicants for temporary or permanent visas for failing to meet income standards or for receiving public assistance such as welfare, food stamps, public housing or Medicaid.
Immediately after the rule was announced, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) said it would file a lawsuit to stop it from taking effect. The group’s executive director said the rule was racially motivated.
The overhaul is part of Trump’s efforts to curb both legal and illegal immigration, an issue he has made a cornerstone of his presidency.
The 837-page rule could be the most drastic of all the Trump administration’s policies targeting the legal immigration system, experts have said. Advocates for immigrants have criticized the plan as an effort to cut legal immigration without going through Congress to change U.S. law.
The new rule is derived from the Immigration Act of 1882, which allows the U.S. government to deny a visa to anyone likely to become a “public charge.”
Most immigrants are ineligible for the major aid programs until they qualify for green cards, which grant legal permanent residence status. However, the new rule announced in the Federal Register by the Department of Homeland Security expands the definition of a public charge and stands to disqualify more people.