Tighter US immigration law restrictions target the middle class

Almost everybody needs a little help now and then. One of the newest U.S. immigration law rules will make it a lot harder for some immigrants in Louisiana to reach out and ask for that help. This is because if immigration officials think that a person might need government benefits in the future, he or she cannot apply for a green card.

The new “public charge” rule only involves certain benefits, like Medicaid, housing vouchers and SNAP — Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This rule actually goes beyond denying green cards to people who have already used those benefits and is supposed to target immigrants who might need government help. Instead, it will unfairly impact a lot of people who will never need benefits.

For example, an immigrant whose income is less than 250% of the U.S.’s poverty line will probably be denied a green card. For a household of five people, that comes out to $76,700. Because the Pew Research Center says that a household income of $58,300 is middle class for a five person family, this rule will actually hurt people who make reasonable, mid-level incomes. Even having credit card debt, a car loan or mortgage could hurt a person’s chances of securing a green card.

Predicting the future is impossible, especially when it comes to money. Just like citizens, many immigrants significantly improve their financial situations by going to school, switching careers or earning raises. It seems unlikely that immigration officials will think about these things when considering someone’s green card application. For those who want to make sure their applications are sufficient for meeting this and other U.S. immigration law rules, speaking with a Louisiana attorney could be a good place to start.