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Trump administration mulling welfare checks for immigrants

Immigrants in Arizona and around the country who receive SNAP benefits or other forms of financial assistance would find obtaining permanent residence more difficult under a policy being considered by President Trump. Immigration officers could check whether or not green card applicants have received or sought to receive public benefits for either themselves or their dependents under a draft policy from the Department of Homeland Security. The agency says that the rule change is needed to prevent immigrants from becoming burdens on society.

Supporters of the proposed measure say that screening immigrants based on the welfare benefits they have received encourages self-sufficiency and makes it more likely that they will go on to achieve the American dream, but critics say the draft policy could deter poor green card applicants from seeking potentially life-saving assistance. When asked about the proposal, a DHS representative said only that the Trump administration would spend taxpayer money carefully.

Advocacy groups also say that the American-born children of immigrants could suffer if the draft policy is adopted. They point out that the parents of these children often rely on Medicaid to cover the cost of routine checkups and emergency care. However, a senior figure at the Center for Immigration Studies, which has championed immigration restrictions in the past, said in a statement that the rule was not designed to prevent immigrants from seeking assistance.

Those seeking permanent residence in the United States sometimes worry that a minor misstep could result in their applications being denied. Attorneys with experience in U.S. immigration law could ease these fears by explaining how green card applications are reviewed and provide details about the kind of behavior that is and is not tolerated.

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