The Latest: Trump administration defends green card rules

Border Report
Ken Cuccinelli

Acting Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli, speaks during a briefing at the White House, Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s new rules for immigrants receiving public assistance (all times local):

11 a.m.

The Trump administration claims its effort to refocus the U.S. immigration system on merit is not a rejection of long-held American values.

The administration on Monday issued new rules that could deny green cards to immigrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance.

Citizenship and Immigration Services acting Director Ken Cuccinelli (koo-chih-NEHL’-ee) says President Donald Trump’s administration is not trying to wipe away the nation’s longtime commitment to taking in immigrants in need.

Cuccinelli was pressed on the Emma Lazarus poem emblazoned below the beacon to immigrants, which reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Cuccinelli says he’s “certainly not prepared to take anything down off the Statue of Liberty.”

Immigration advocates worry the new rules will scare immigrants into not asking for help.

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8:45 a.m.

Trump administration rules that could deny green cards to immigrants if they use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance are going into effect.

Federal law already requires people seeking green cards to prove they will not be a burden, or what’s called a “public charge.” But the new rules detail a broad range of programs that could disqualify them.

The rules were made public on Monday and will take effect in October.

The rules are among President Donald Trump’s most aggressive efforts to curb legal immigration, part of an overall attempt to restrict immigration and benefits in the U.S. They were met with much criticism when they were proposed last fall.

Homeland Security officials say they made a series of changes to the proposed rules following 266,000 public comments.

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