The Link between Public Benefits and Deportation

In its latest move to reduce curb low-income individuals from immigrating to the United States, the Trump administration has started considering revamping policies which gives them more freedom to deport immigrants who might have used public benefits during their time in the country.

Even though it is still possible for the country to deport legal immigrants who are solely dependent on government schemes to live a healthy, happy, and fulfilling life, there have rarely been any cases in which the individual has actually been deported. A draft regulation by the Department of Justice, however, is expected to make things a lot different – and a lot more difficult – for immigrants even if they took the legal route to enter the United States.

What’s Changing?

While one can expect a lot of changes owing to the draft regulation by the Department of Justice, it’s still too early to say just how many people will be affected by the development.

Since the objective behind the draft regulation and reversal of the policy is to reduce the number of low-income individuals that immigrate to the United States, it is expected that the list of possible deportees will expand significantly.

Current policies and laws make it possible for legal immigrants to be deported if they have become ‘public charges’ within 5 years of legally entering into the United States. The condition for this, however, is that the reason due to which the individual has to seek and benefit from public schemes should have come into existence before the immigrant had entered into the country. Say, for instance, if a person failed to disclose their chronic illness when entering the United States and requires public benefit to remain live a healthy and fulfilling life, it is possible for such an individual to be deported simply because they failed to provide such important information during their immigration process.

Even though this new development will, essentially, put limits on the type of benefits that one can seek without fearing consequences, it’s also important to take into consideration how things currently stand. Today, in most states, children and pregnant women who are legal permanent residents are allowed to benefit from facilities and services provided by Medicaid without waiting for a certain number of months or years.

In case regulations are changed and rules are, indeed, tightened, it will not be possible for individuals who are veterans and refugees to access public benefits for which they are currently eligible. Additionally, since using public benefits is expected to affect one’s chances of living peacefully in the United States and could even result in deportation of immigrants, it is possible that lower numbers of people will opt for public benefits in the country.