PNS Daily Newscast - February 22, 2019 

North Carolina will hold a new election to fill the final disputed seat in the U.S. House. Also. on our Friday rundown: Baltimore sues Monsanto and others for polluting city waterways. Plus, a public lands program moves towards permanent status.

Daily Newscasts

Immigrants' Advocates See New Trump Visa Proposal as Cruel

Research shows that poor, U.S.-born natives use public benefits at higher percentages than lower-income immigrants. (
Research shows that poor, U.S.-born natives use public benefits at higher percentages than lower-income immigrants. (
October 1, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Immigrants' rights groups say the Trump administration's proposed rule to deny visas and permanent residency to aspiring immigrants who have legally accessed public benefits in the past is cruel.

The proposal from the Department of Homeland Security would expand immigration officers' powers to refuse entry to the U.S. to people who have previously received some types of taxpayer-funded benefits. Those benefits could include Medicaid, the Medicare Part D subsidy, Section 8 housing vouchers and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

William Parke-Sutherland, health policy engagement coordinator with the advocacy group Kids Forward, said the rule attacks families and hurts children.

"You know, this is really going to privilege wealthy families and put them ahead of families that have been waiting years to be reunited,” Parke-Sutherland said. “This is unfair, it's unhealthy, and it doesn't represent the values that Americans claim to hold."

DHS says the changes would promote self-sufficiency and save tax dollars. Parke-Sutherland said groups that make up the "Protecting Immigrant Families" national campaign are waiting for the official rule to be posted to the Federal Register, which triggers a 60-day public comment period.

The administration's proposal departs from current guidelines - which have been in place since 1999 - barring authorities from considering such non-cash benefits in deciding a person's eligibility to immigrate to the United States or stay in the country. According to Parke-Sutherland, this has long been a goal for President Donald Trump.

"The Trump administration has been openly hostile to immigrants, immigrant families and communities of color throughout the administration,” he said. “And so, this is another attack on that."

The changes would apply to people seeking visas or legal permanent residency, but not those applying for U.S. citizenship.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM