A new report from NBC News this week shows the White House is gearing up to unveil a proposal to make it harder for legal immigrants to become citizens or get green cards if they have ever used government assistance programs. According to the report, immigrants living in the U.S. legally could be denied citizenship if they or someone in their household have ever used “Obamacare, children’s health insurance, food stamps and other benefits.” Given the fact that Sen. Dean Heller supports similar Trump-backed proposals targeting legal immigrants and has been a rubber stamp for the White House on immigration policy this year, we can only assume Heller will stand behind Trump’s latest anti-immigrant attack unless he says otherwise.
Nevada State Democratic Party spokesperson Sarah Abel released the following statement:
“Over the last year, Sen. Heller has become utterly spineless in the face of one anti-immigrant action after another from the Trump Administration. In June, Sen. Heller said he will not even vote for an immigration plan if it doesn’t have President Trump’s full support. Will Sen. Heller grow a backbone and push back on this latest attack on immigrant families, or will he once again predictably sit in silence on the sidelines and do nothing?”
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.