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Public Health New Mexico
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New Immigration Rule Could Affect 42,000 New Mexicans

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The Trump administration has issued a new rule that could deny visas and green cards to some immigrants if they use government assistance programs like Medicaid or food assistance, citing the need for self-sufficiency and the cost.

 

That could affect the 42,000 immigrants who are here legally who are using those programs.

 

When immigrants apply for visas or green cards, the feds factor in how much public assistance they will need. The more help an applicant would need, the more likely they are to be denied. So the poorer an applicant is, the worse their odds.

 

That policy has been around for more than a century. 

 

The new rule would include food and housing assistance and Medicaid in the list of programs that immigrants could be penalized for using. 

 

It applies to new applicants and to people who are renewing and goes into effect in October.

 

Critics say the rule will discourage immigrants with lower incomes from applying for visas and green cards and scare immigrants who are already here legally from using assistance programs they’re eligible for. 

 

This story corrects a previous version that used the term temporary resident, which refers to people who are not looking to immigrate to the U.S.

 

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Support for KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and from KUNM listeners like you.

 

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