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川普政府出招!持綠卡領福利 擬擴大驅逐


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5/04/2019

Trump administration proposal would make it easier to deport immigrants who use public benefits

By Yeganeh Torbati

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration is considering reversing long-standing policy to make it easier to deport U.S. legal permanent residents who have used public benefits, part of an effort to restrict immigration by low-income people.

A Department of Justice draft regulation, seen by Reuters, dramatically expands the category of people who could be subject to deportation on the grounds that they use benefits.

Currently, those legal permanent residents who are declared to be a “public charge,” or primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, can be deported - but in practice, this is very rare.

The draft regulation would use a more expansive definition to include some immigrants who have used an array of public benefits, including cash welfare, food stamps, housing aid, or Medicaid.



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While the plan is at an early stage, might not become official government policy, and is likely to attract lawsuits, it is one part of efforts by the Trump administration to restrict legal immigration, in addition to its efforts to reduce illegal immigration to the United States.

The full possible impact is not known, but the change in policy could affect permanent residents - also known as “green card” holders - who are legally entitled to use public benefits soon after their arrival in the United States, such as refugees.

Department of Justice spokesman Alexei Woltornist said the agency “does not comment on or confirm draft regulations.”

U.S. law allows for the deportation of immigrants who have become “public charges” within five years of admission if their reason for seeking help preceded their entry to the United States - for example, if they had a chronic health condition that was not disclosed.


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But due to a 1948 ruling, the deportation of immigrants for using public benefits has been strictly limited to cases in which the government has demanded payment for public services, and the person has failed to pay. Immigration lawyers said they have rarely if ever heard of someone being deported for using public benefits.

The draft rule indicates the government would override that precedent to allow for deportation of some permanent residents who have used certain public benefits within five years of admission.

For the plan to go into effect, it would be subject to public comment, after which it could be revised. Attorney General William Barr would then have to sign off on it.

The public benefits in question include Supplemental Security Income (SSI), given to disabled and older people; the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps; Section 8 housing vouchers; many Medicaid benefits; and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a cash assistance program.


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According to federal policy, many permanent residents do not qualify for public benefits unless they have had a green card for five years, making it unlikely they could be targeted for deportation on the basis of “public charge” even under the draft rule.

But dozens of states have looser rules - for instance, allowing pregnant women and children who are permanent residents to access Medicaid without a waiting period.

And the effort to tighten the rules could affect thousands of immigrant veterans, refugees and asylees, who are eligible to receive many benefits without time restrictions. Active members of the military would not be affected.

Administration officials had earlier indicated that the Justice Department, which oversees U.S. immigration courts, planned to issue a regulation on who can be deported for using public benefits, but its details were not previously known.


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‘NEW TERRITORY’

Immigrant advocates said the impact of the possible change is unclear, because it would be such a departure from long-standing practice.

“We’re in new territory here because this has never been tested,” said Charles Wheeler, an attorney with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network non-profit group. “I’m concerned that it’s going to be targeted at permanent resident aliens who otherwise thought they were free and clear to receive SSI and other public benefit programs.”

The change, if implemented, fits with broader Trump administration efforts to squelch legal immigration by transforming public-charge rules. The administration has also slashed refugee admissions and imposed a broad travel ban on citizens of several mostly Muslim countries.

The Justice Department’s draft proposal is based on a similar plan by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to significantly broaden the definition of what it means to be a public charge.

While DHS can decide whether to grant or deny immigration benefits, DOJ’s immigration judges can also decide whether a resident ought to be deported.

The DHS is expected soon to tighten regulations so that a “public charge” would be any foreigner “who receives one or more public benefits,” including an array of cash and non-cash benefits, such as food stamps, housing vouchers, and Medicaid.


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The DOJ’s draft proposal mirrors that and also directs immigration judges to consider the use of public benefits as a heavily weighted negative factor when determining whether to admit a foreigner to the United States.

The State Department is also trying to restrict entry to the United States of people it suspects might use public benefits.

Last year, it gave U.S. consular officers more discretion to reject visas for people they believe may become public charges. The number of people refused immigrant visas on public-charge grounds was four times higher in 2018 than in 2017, and the highest total since 2004.

In addition to considering new standards for deporting legal residents, the DOJ is also looking at requiring foreigners seeking permanent residency status to submit a declaration to an immigration judge that demonstrates their self-sufficiency. The form asks for a detailed listing of assets, income, and debts, among other information.   




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5/04/2019

川普政府出招!持綠卡領福利 擬擴大驅逐

(World Journal) 編譯黃秀媛


司法部已草擬法規,準備擴大可能因使用公共福利遭到驅逐的民眾類別。(本報檔案照)

川普政府正考慮配合它限制貧窮移民的方針,改變長久以來的政策,使政府更容易驅逐使用公共福利的合法永久居民;路透報導,司法部已草擬法規,準備擴大可能因使用公共福利遭到驅逐的民眾類別。

報導指出,目前持有綠卡的合法永久居民,如被視為「公共負擔」,也就是主要仰賴政府福利過活,也可能遭到驅逐,不過這種情況非常罕見。

草擬法規採用更廣泛的定義,納入使用各種公共福利的移民,包括現金福利、糧食券、住房補助或醫療補助計畫(Medicaid)。

這項作業還在初期階段,可能不會成為正式政策,也可能引起訴訟,不過這只是川普政府除了減少非法移民之外,有意限制合法移民的措施之一。





此舉可能會影響難民等合法永久居民;這些人依法進入美國不久,就能夠使用公共福利。

根據美國法律,獲准進入美國五年內就因原來存在的問題 (例如沒有透露的長期健康問題)而成為「公共負擔」的移民,可以被驅逐出境。

但是,1948年的裁決對驅逐使用公共福利的移民嚴格限制,只能驅逐未遵照政府要求,為其使用的公共服務付錢的人。實際上因此遭到驅逐的人極少。

草擬法規顯示政府有意推翻這種判例,以驅逐一些入境五年內使用某些公共福利的永久居民。

這種計畫必須先接受公開評論,然後可能修改,再由司法部長簽字生效;其中涉及的公共福利包括向殘障者和老人提供的社安生活補助金(SSI)、補充營養援助計畫 (SNAP,糧食券)、住房代券、許多Medicaid福利、貧困家庭臨時援助(TANF)。


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根據聯邦法規,許多永久居民沒有資格獲得公共福利,除非他們擁有綠卡已滿五年;因此,即使根據草擬的新法,他們也不可能因成為「公共負擔」而遭到驅逐。

但是,有幾十個州規定較寬鬆,例如已成為永久居民的孕婦和兒童,不需等到規定期限,就可獲得Medicaid。

加強法規也可能影響數以千計不受時間限制即有資格獲得許多福利的移民退伍軍人、難民和尋求庇護者;一些現役軍人也可能受到影響。

國土安全部也準備擴大對「公共負擔」的定義,國務院則試圖限制它認為可能使用公共福利的人入境。去年因可能成為公共負擔,申請移民簽證被拒的人,比前一年增加四倍。

除了考慮對驅逐合法居民訂定新標準,司法部也有意規定申請綠卡的外國人,必須向移民法官提出財務報告,列出資產、收入、負債等詳細資料,以顯示他們有能力維持自己的生活。

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