Now the Trump administration wants to limit citizenship for legal immigrants The most significant change to legal immigration in decades could affect millions of would-be citizens, say lawyers and advocates.

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Image: United States Citizenship Ceremony with Justice GinsbergNew citizens recite the Pledge of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony in New York on April 10.Justin Lane / EPA file

The Trump administration is expected to issue a proposal in coming weeks that would make it harder for legal immigrants to become citizens or get green cards if they have ever used a range of popular public welfare programs, including Obamacare, four sources with knowledge of the plan told NBC News.

The move, which would not need congressional approval, is part of White House senior adviser Stephen Miller’s plan to limit the number of migrants who obtain legal status in the U.S. each year.

Details of the rulemaking proposal are still being finalized, but based on a recent draft seen last week and described to NBC News, immigrants living legally in the U.S. who have ever used or whose household members have ever used Obamacare, children’s health insurance, food stamps and other benefits could be hindered from obtaining legal status in the U.S.

Immigration lawyers and advocates and public health researchers say it would be the biggest change to the legal immigration system in decades and estimate that more than 20 million immigrants could be affected. They say it would fall particularly hard on immigrants working jobs that don’t pay enough to support their families.

Many are like Louis Charles, a Haitian green-card holder seeking citizenship who, despite working up to 80 hours a week as a nursing assistant, has had to use public programs to support his disabled adult daughter.

Using some public benefits like Social Security Insurance has already hindered immigrants from obtaining legal status in the past, but the programs included in the recent draft plan could mean that immigrant households earning as much as 250 percent of the poverty level could be rejected.

A version of the plan has been sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget, the sources said, the final step before publishing a rule in the federal register. Reuters first reported that the White House was considering such a plan in February.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security said: “The administration is committed to enforcing existing immigration law, which is clearly intended to protect the American taxpayer by ensuring that foreign nationals seeking to enter or remain in the U.S are self-sufficient. Any proposed changes would ensure that the government takes the responsibility of being good stewards of taxpayer funds seriously and adjudicates immigration benefit requests in accordance with the law.”

Miller, along with several of his former congressional colleagues who now hold prominent positions in the Trump administration, have long sought to decrease the number of immigrants who obtain legal status in the U.S. each year. And even before the rule is in place, the administration has made it more difficult for immigrants to gain green cards and for green-card holders to gain citizenship.

In fiscal year 2016, the last full fiscal year under the Obama administration, 1.2 million immigrants became lawful permanent residents, or green-card holders, and 753,060 became naturalized U.S. citizens, according to data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Data from the first quarter of fiscal year 2018 indicates that the administration is on track for a decline in immigrants granted green cards by 20 percent. Data for the first two quarters of fiscal year 2018 for immigrants obtaining naturalized citizenship shows little change compared to the same period of 2016. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says they expect naturalization numbers to rise in the latter half of the year based on previous trends.

Four immigration lawyers practicing in Massachusetts, Virginia, Tennessee and California told NBC News they have noticed a spike in the number of their clients being rejected when seeking green cards and naturalized citizenship.

In a statement, agency spokesperson Michael Bars said, “USCIS evaluates all applications fairly, efficiently and effectively on a case-by-case basis.”

“Contrary to open borders advocates, immigration attorneys and activists,” said Bars, “USCIS has not changed the manner in which applications for naturalization have been adjudicated, as the law generally requires that an eligible applicant must have been properly admitted for permanent residence in order to become a U.S. citizen. … We reject the false and inaccurate claims of those who would rather the U.S. turn a blind eye to cases of illegal immigration, fraud, human trafficking, gang activity and drug proliferation at the expense of public safety, the integrity of our laws and their faithful execution.”

“I DID EVERYTHING THEY ASKED ME”

Charles, the Haitian green-card holder who works as a nursing assistant in a psychiatric hospital near Boston, said he was stunned to learn his application for citizenship had been denied. He had used a fake passport given to him by smugglers when he entered the U.S. from Haiti in 1989, but confessed to border officers and received a waiver from USCIS absolving him of his wrongdoing and allowing him to obtain a green card in 2011.

Now 55, Charles is a homeowner and a taxpayer and thought obtaining citizenship would be a smooth process. “I thought in this country everything was square and fair,” Charles said.

But when he went for his citizenship interview in August 2017, the USCIS officers told him they were going to revisit the decision to waive the fake passport incident, meaning he could potentially lose his green card as well

Then he received a letter in September telling him his request for citizenship had been denied.

“I was devastated. And I’m not sure exactly why they did it. I did everything they asked me to.”

He appealed the decision, but as he waits for a final verdict, his lawyer says his green-card status may also now be in question.

In late November, the Trump administration announced they would end temporary protected status for Haitians who came to the U.S. after the deadly 2010 earthquake. Charles’s wife was a recipient of that protection and without him becoming a citizen, he would be unable to vouch for her.

But Charles’s biggest concern is his daughter. Although she is in her 20s and a U.S. citizen, she has severe disabilities that make it impossible for her to live by herself.

Charles is unaware of Miller’s new plan to limit citizenship for immigrants who have used public assistance. But it is likely to affect him because he has used public assistance to help care for his daughter, so she could end up further hurting his chances for citizenship.

Though its effects could be far-reaching, the proposal to limit citizenship to immigrants who have not used public assistance does not appear to need congressional approval. As the Clinton administration did in 1999, the Trump administration would be redefining the term “public charge,” which first emerged in immigration law in the 1800s in order to shield the U.S. from burdening too many immigrants who could not contribute to society.

Rosemary Jenks, executive vice president of NumbersUSA, which promotes limited immigration, said the new rule and the increased scrutiny around green card and citizenship applications are all part of a new focus at DHS on enforcing the law and preventing fraud.

“Applications for renewal or adjustment of status that have been filed with the government before are being re-examined to look for fraud,” Jenks said.

In light of this, immigration attorneys are cautioning their clients before moving from green-card status to citizenship.

Rose Hernandez is the supervising attorney at the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition’s naturalization clinic. She said the clinic’s model has completely changed in light of the crackdown. She now sends six information requests to government agencies to check on green-card holders’ backgrounds before she advises them to file for citizenship. If the government finds something she doesn’t, the fear is the applicants could lose their green cards and be sent home.

And other immigration attorneys are preparing to push back fiercely against the public charge rule.

“Any policy forcing millions of families to choose between the denial of status and food or health care would exacerbate serious problems such as hunger, unmet health needs, child poverty and homelessness, with lasting consequences for families’ wellbeing and long-term success and community prosperity,” said the National Immigration Law Center in a statement.

By Julia Ainsley/NBC
Posted by The NON-Conformist
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Mexican illegal immigrant population in US lowest since 2009 – study

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A new report has found that the number of unauthorized Mexican immigrants residing in the US has been steadily decreasing over the past 10 years, and they no longer make up the majority of illegal immigrants.

The Pew Research Center released a report Tuesday that estimates the population of unauthorized immigrants living in the US to have decreased from its peak of 12.2 million during the recession in 2007 to 11.3 million in 2016.

For the first time, the population of unauthorized immigrants living in the US has fallen below the level in 2009, the end of the Great Recession, the report found.

Pew included immigrants who entered the country illegally or overstayed their visas as unauthorized immigrants.

The report estimates the unauthorized immigrant population in 1990 was around 3.5 million, which grew to a peak of 12.2 million in 2007.

Since 2009, the report estimates the population grew by around 350,000 unauthorized immigrants per year, with 100,000 of those coming from Mexico.

It is estimated that 2016 was the first year since 2005 that Mexicans have not made up the majority of the unauthorized immigrant population.

Mexicans remain largest group among unauthorized immigrants in US, but now may no longer account for a majority http://pewrsr.ch/2pvCkcf 

Using data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and Current Population Survey through former President Barack Obama’s second term, the report estimated the number of unauthorized Mexican immigrants decreased from 6.9 million in 2007 to 5.6 million in 2016.

Their data showed Mexicans went from making up 57 percent of the unauthorized immigrant population to around 50 percent in roughly 10 years.

While the Pew report did not include any data from the Trump administration, it did note that policy changes on increased border protections under the current administration have accompanied a sharp decline in the number of apprehensions at the southwest border, according to data from the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

CBP data shows 16,600 apprehensions were made along the southwest border in March 2017, a 30 percent decrease from the previous month and a 64 percent increase from the same month in the previous year.

During Monday’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended Trump’s plan to build a wall along the southern border, despite the fact that border crossings have decreased, calling the wall “a permanent step that will extend beyond his presidency.

Just because you have a couple good months in a year, I think you want to make sure that you take prudent long-term steps,” Spicer said. “Eight years from now, the next President will have that wall in place to make sure that it doesn’t continue.

Pew also found that while the share of unauthorized Mexican immigrants has been declining, there have been a growing number of immigrants coming from other areas in the world, namely Central America and Asia.

Estimated authorized immigrant totals from Mexico declined during 2009-2015, but rose from Asia & Central America http://pewrsr.ch/2qaFLB4 

In 2015, the report estimates there were 1.8 million unauthorized immigrants from Central America and 1.5 million from Asia. Both of these populations have increased by around 200,000 since 2009.

The Pew Research Center also released a report earlier this month that showed federal law enforcement agencies have been making more immigration-related arrests and fewer arrests for other offenses, including drug, property and gun-related crimes.

Their data showed half of the 165,265 arrests made by federal law enforcement agencies in fiscal year 2014 were related to immigration, an increase of 22 percent from 2004.

From RT

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Geraldo Rivera and Eric Bolling spar over Trump’s Immigration Slurs

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Posted by Libergirl

Don’t Build This Wall

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Even the Cold War border between the two Germanies, the most fortified manmade barrier, was breached about a thousand times a year. That, however, is not deterring House Republicans from demanding “fully secure” borders as a condition for immigration reform.

But just like the liberal quest for a pristine environment, money no object, doesn’t boost public health — the GOP’s quest for total border security, regardless of cost, won’t enhance national security.

The comprehensive immigration reform that the Senate passed recently would, thanks to Republican insistence, increase border security spending by a whopping $46.3 billion over the next 10 years. This is nine times more than originally proposed. And coming on top of the $90 billion already spent on border security in the last decade, it mocks Republican calls for austerity.

Where will this money go? Basically, toward militarizing the southern border and expanding police surveillance in the homeland.

More from Reason.com

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Deported While Unconscious: American Hospitals Quietly Deport Hundreds Of Undocumented Patients

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Days after they were badly hurt in a car accident, Jacinto Cruz and Jose Rodriguez-Saldana lay unconscious in an Iowa hospital while the American health care system weighed what to do with the two immigrants from Mexico.

The men had health insurance from jobs at one of the nation’s largest pork producers. But neither had legal permission to live in the U.S., nor was it clear whether their insurance would pay for the long-term rehabilitation they needed.

So Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines took matters into its own hands: After consulting with the patients’ families, it quietly loaded the two comatose men onto a private jet that flew them back to Mexico, effectively deporting them without consulting any court or federal agency.

When the men awoke, they were more than 1,800 miles away in a hospital in Veracruz, on the Mexican Gulf Coast.

Hundreds of immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally have taken similar journeys through a little-known removal system run not by the federal government trying to enforce laws but by hospitals seeking to curb high costs. A recent report compiled by immigrant advocacy groups made a rare attempt to determine how many people are sent home, concluding that at least 600 immigrants were removed over a five-year period, though there were likely many more.

More from David Pitt @AP via TPM

Immigration’s latest ally: Christian right

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The usual suspects pushing immigration reform have a new ally in the fight this time — the religious right.

Christian conservatives, who stayed on the sidelines in 2006 or opposed reform outright, have sprung into action for the cause.

They’re talking to their congregations from the pulpit. They’re urging lawmakers in private meetings to support reform. And they’re even calling for change publicly.

The efforts have dramatically changed the dynamics of the debate, so much so that Republicans anxious to vote yes on a deal might have the political cover to do it.

“I think it is night and day, particularly among social conservatives,” Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Ralph Reed told POLITICO of the support for immigration reform.

More from Anna Palmer @Politico

Posted by Libergirl

As immigration program begins, officials on alert for fraud

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Nataly Montano, who graduated in June from Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Va., with a 4.3 grade-point average, has her mind set on becoming a doctor.

Montano is in the country illegally. Her family brought her from Bolivia when she was 6, and the prospect of finding a college, medical school, residency program and hospital that would allow her to study and work was overwhelming. The family even considered moving back to Bolivia.

On Wednesday, those plans were thrown out when Montano joined thousands of people around the country who applied for a new federal program that could grant up to 1.7 million illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children a reprieve from deportation.

More from Alan Gomez, USA TODAY

 Posted by Libergirl

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