Advocates: New Trump Rule Makes Getting Citizenship Harder For Immigrants

Aug 12, 2019

A new Trump administration rule will likely make it harder for immigrants, who are in the U.S. legally and who use public assistance, to become citizens.

The rule broadens the definition of who’s considered a “public charge” because of the use of government benefits. Kathy Kilrain del Rio of Maine Equal Justice calls the new rule problematic.

“Because it rigs our system for those who are wealthy,” she says.

Sue Roche, the executive director of the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, says the rule also includes new factors that would be barriers to citizenship.

“Things like not speaking English correctly, having a disability or having children,” she says.

Roche says it’s unclear how many immigrants in Maine will be affected, but the rule only applies to those seeking residency through immediate family members who have residence or citizenship. It does not apply to refugees, asylum seekers, or those granted asylum.

Barring legal challenges, the rule will go into effect in mid-October.