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國安部擬新規……移民申請人 拿了福利 就難拿綠卡




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02/09/2018

國安部擬新規……移民申請人 拿了福利 就難拿綠卡

(World Journal) 編譯黃秀媛

新移民家庭在紐約市宣誓入籍。(Getty Images)新移民家庭在紐約市宣誓入籍。(Getty Images)
在紐約市入籍的新移民開心的與自由女神像合影。(Getty Images)在紐約市入籍的新移民開心的與自由女神像合影。(Getty Images)

亟欲緊縮移民政策的川普政府正研議更嚴厲緊縮的移民法規,限制在美國居住和工作的外國人,如果本人或美國出生的公民子女享有糧食券等社會福利,將更難以獲得永久居留權。

有享學前計畫或健保補助嗎

「路透」獨家報導,國土安全部已草擬新法規,准許移民官審查移民使用某些公共福利的情況,以決定他們是否會成為公共負擔;例如,政府官員可能追查申請人是否有子女參加政府的學前計畫,或獲得暖氣費或健保補助。

新法規與現行規範差距極大,也會衝擊到有意申請永久居民的華人;1999年訂定的現行準則,明白禁止有關當局在決定申請人的移民或居留資格時,考慮這些非現金福利。

福利易鼓勵外國人移民美國

「獲得公共福利的非公民是無法自給自足,並且仰賴美國政府、州和地方政府提供資源,而非由他們的家人、贊助者或民間組織。」這份擬議文件並明白指出,「外國人所接受的公共福利,是由納稅人負擔費用,而獲得公共福利的機會,可能鼓勵外國人移民美國。」

2016年近38萬申請人將受影響

國安部的統計資料顯示,2016年有將近38萬3000名已在美國的移民獲得永久居留權,他們將受到新標準影響。新法規將不適用於申請入籍的永久居民,但是將適用於以下在美國生活和工作的廣泛群體:包括美國公民的近親和美國公司(外籍)員工。

另外,針對幾十萬名從海外申請綠卡者,領事事務局指出,若國安部公布新規定,屆時國務院將再決定是否修改相關指南。

擴大排除「公共負擔」者拿綠卡

美國移民法早就規定排除可能成為「公共負擔」(public charge)的人成為永久居民,可是現行準則對「公共負擔」定義很狹窄,只包括獲得政府的直接現金援助或長期照護等「主要仰賴政府生活」的人。

現行準則指示移民官在決定申請人是否可能成為公共負擔時,只審查範圍狹窄的公共福利,而且明白指示他們不要考慮糧食券和學前班等大多數非現金福利。

仰賴「現金、支票或援助」者都算

新法規卻規定只要仰賴政府的任何「現金、支票或其他形式轉帳,或是援助、服務或其他救濟等工具和非現金協助」,都視為「公共負擔」。

移民維權人士和政府官員說,擬議的法規不需改變法律就能付諸實施,有效地禁止中低所得者移民美國。他們也擔心移民會因此不敢使用他們有資格獲得的福利,像是兒童的學校計畫、健保、營養計畫等。

去年的調查發現有兒童的移民家庭有5.5%領取現金補助,有4%移民家庭獲得住房援助,兩者比率都低於土生美國家庭,可是約有46%移民家庭使用協助貧民的醫療補助計畫(Medicaid),遠高於土生美國家庭的34%。

美國海關及邊境保護局探員打開美墨圍牆大門,讓分隔兩國的家庭可以短暫團聚。(路透)美國海關及邊境保護局探員打開美墨圍牆大門,讓分隔兩國的家庭可以短暫團聚。(路透)






02/08/2018

Exclusive: Trump administration may target immigrants who use food aid, other benefits

by Yeganeh Torbati


President Trump Delivers Remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast

Published on Feb 8, 2018

Washington, DC



WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration is considering making it harder for foreigners living in the United States to get permanent residency if they or their American-born children use public benefits such as food assistance, in a move that could sharply restrict legal immigration.

The Department of Homeland Security has drafted rules seen by Reuters that would allow immigration officers to scrutinize a potential immigrant’s use of certain taxpayer-funded public benefits to determine if they could become a public burden.

For example, U.S. officials could look at whether the applicant has enrolled a child in government pre-school programs or received subsidies for utility bills or health insurance premiums.

The draft rules are a sharp departure from current guidelines, which have been in place since 1999 and specifically bar authorities from considering such non-cash benefits in deciding a person’s eligibility to immigrate to the United States or stay in the country.

“Non-citizens who receive public benefits are not self-sufficient and are relying on the U.S. government and state and local entities for resources instead of their families, sponsors or private organizations,” the document states. “An alien’s receipt of public benefits comes at taxpayer expense and availability of public benefits may provide an incentive for aliens to immigrate to the United States.”

Receiving such benefits could weigh against an applicant, even if they were for an immigrant’s U.S. citizen children, according to the document.

“The administration is committed to enforcing existing immigration law, which is clearly intended to protect the American taxpayer,” said Tyler Houlton, a DHS spokesman. “Any potential changes to the rule would be in keeping with the letter and spirit of the law – as well as the reasonable expectations of the American people for the government to be good stewards of taxpayer funds.”

In 2016, nearly 383,000 people who would be subject to the new standards obtained permanent residence while already in the United States, according to DHS statistics. The rules would not apply to permanent residents applying for citizenship, but would apply to a wide range of people living or working in the United States, including close family members of U.S. citizens and workers employed by U.S. companies.

In addition, nearly 620,000 other immigrants living abroad obtained U.S. permanent residence through the State Department in 2016. If DHS publishes a new rule, the State Department will decide then whether to change its guidance, said Ashley Garrigus, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Consular Affairs.

U.S. immigration law has long required officials to exclude a person likely to become a “public charge” from permanent residence. But current U.S. guidelines, in place since 1999, narrowly define “public charge” to be a person “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence,” either through direct cash assistance or government-funded long-term care.

Current guidance instructs immigration officers to look at a narrow range of public benefits in trying to determine whether someone is likely to become a burden, specifically directing officers not to consider most non-cash benefits, such as government food assistance programs or preschool programs.

The new rules, if adopted in their current form, would significantly change these guidelines. Under the draft rules, a person would be considered a “public charge” if they depend on “any government assistance in the form of cash, checks or other forms of money transfers, or instrument and non-cash government assistance in the form of aid, services, or other relief,” according to the document seen by Reuters.

IMMIGRATION RESTRICTIONS

Trump, who took a hard line on illegal immigration during the 2016 presidential campaign, has in recent months also taken aim at legal immigrants. He has advocated ending a visa lottery program and some kinds of family-based immigration. But many of the administration’s proposals would require congressional action.

Several immigrant advocates and current and former U.S. officials said the proposed rules could advance the administration’s goals without changing U.S. law, by effectively barring lower- and middle-income people from immigrating.

“The big picture here is the administration is trying to accomplish by regulation the substantive changes to immigration law that it has proposed be enacted by statute,” said Barbara Strack, a career DHS official who retired in January and helped draft the 1999 rules.

The experts and officials said they were also worried that the proposed changes would dissuade immigrants from using services to which they are entitled.

“It’s going to scare a lot of people into yanking their children off of needed healthcare, school programs, child nutrition programs, basic sorts of subsistence-level programs that have kept the population healthy and employable,” said Charles Wheeler, director of training and legal support at Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.

A 2017 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that 5.5 percent of immigrant households with children received cash assistance, compared to 6.3 percent of native households. Four percent of immigrant households used housing assistance, compared to five percent of native households. And about 46 percent of immigrant households used Medicaid, compared to 34 percent of native households.

Conservatives have long expressed concerns about non-citizens’ access to public benefits, saying it is a drain on resources that should go to U.S. citizens.

“Efforts to limit immigrant access to these programs mostly have not been very successful,” said Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors stricter immigration policies.

Among the benefits singled out in the draft rule for consideration are: health insurance subsidies such as those provided by the Affordable Care Act; the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); WIC, a federal program that feeds poor pregnant or nursing women and their children; transportation and housing vouchers; programs that help the poor pay their heating bills; and programs such as Head Start, which provides early education to low-income children.

Some benefits would not be considered in making the “public charge” determination under the draft regulations, including emergency or disaster relief, public health assistance for immunizations, attending public school, receiving free or reduced-price school lunches, and earned benefits such as disability insurance, Medicare and unemployment payments.




「移民家庭」逾美1/4人口 中國人數第3高










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