WASHINGTON (Circa) - Immigrants who receive welfare, food stamps, and most other forms of public assistance could be denied citizenship, according to a new proposal from the Department of Homeland Security.
Immigrants are already penalized for receiving cash welfare while applying for U.S. citizenship, but the new proposal would require immigration caseworkers to also consider additional forms of public assistance including the widely used Earned Income Tax Credit, health insurance subsidies and other "non-cash public benefits," The Washington Post reported.
The proposal wouldn't affect immigrants who are in the country illegally, but it would impact immigrants who are currently protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program if they try to file for full U.S. citizenship.
DHS officials told The Washington Post that the rule is not yet finalized.
The proposal is part of the Trump administration's broader goal to curb illegal immigration to the United States.
“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,” DHS spokeswoman Katie Waldman said in a statement, according to The Washington Post.
“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,” she added.
The proposal will soon be published in the Federal Register and will be open to public comment. It's unclear when it will be published.