WASHINGTON - The White House announced Monday that it plans to restrict immigration based on the use of public benefits.
Critics, however, complain the move makes it more difficult for certain low-income immigrants to secure permanent residency.
"President Trump has once again delivered on his promise," said USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli. "Through the public charge rule, President Trump's Administration is reinforcing the ideals of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility."
Caseworkers will now consider if immigrants would rely on government benefits like housing, food, and Medicaid before approving citizenship status. Opponents say the change only makes it easier to deny green cards.
The Department of Homeland Security released a statement in part saying "DHS acknowledges that one likely outcome of this change is that some individuals who may have been able to immigrate under the 1999 interim Field Guidance will now be deemed inadmissible as likely public charges."
In a recent interview with CBN News, Cuccinelli said the White House crackdown aims to cut down on the potential economic burden of immigrants entering the country.
"A lot of people aren't even close," he explained. " They know they don't have an asylum case. They want to come here for economic reasons. Those are not asylum reasons. Asylum is about protection from persecution."
That's why asylum seekers and refugees are an exception to this change - so are children, pregnant women, and active-duty military members. The new rule could impact hundreds of thousands who immigrate to the US each year.
"I'm certainly not prepared to take anything down off the Statue of Liberty. We have a long history of being one of the most welcoming nations in the world," Cuccinelli said.
The changes won't go into effect until October.