South Florida immigration activists react to new green card rules

MIAMI (WSVN) - South Florida immigration activists are reacting to President Donald Trump’s new regulations that could limit legal immigration in the United States.

The new regulations were announced during a press conference at the White House, Monday.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said the new regulations are to make sure immigrants are better able to supports themselves.

“President Trump’s public charge inadmissibility rule better ensures that immigrants are able to successfully support themselves as they seek opportunity here,” Cuccinelli said during the press conference. “Throughout our history, self-reliance has been a core principle in America.”

The Trump administration plans to roll out new guidelines in the fall when it comes to immigrants seeking a more permanent status in the U.S.

The new rules could deny green cards to immigrants who use public benefits like food stamps or Medicaid for more than 12 months within a 36-month period, but many immigration activists believe the policy’s goal is to make it harder for poor people of color to make the U.S. their permanent home.

Melissa Taveras, a member of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, said, “Why would you want to purposefully put out a policy of that nature? It erodes immigration law, and it makes it difficult for people to complete their application process.”

Taveras said most immigrants seeking asylum or residency do not qualify for public assistance, but these new laws will send a message of hate.

“This is obviously a strong message to keep people of color out and to let white wealthy people in,” she said.

Federal law already prohibits immigrants who would be dependent on using public benefits from becoming a permanent resident.

The White House said the new rules are about preserving social safety nets.

“What we’re looking for here are people who are going to live with us either their whole lives, or ultimately become citizens, who can stand on their own two feet.,” Cuccinelli said.

Immigration activists expect the new rules to be challenged in court.

The new rules are scheduled to go into effect by mid-October.

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