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Does federal law allow foreigners who are likely to become a burden on taxpayers to immigrate to the United States?

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Federal law explicitly prohibits foreigners from immigrating to the U.S. if they are "likely at any time to become a public charge," meaning a burden on taxpayers. This law doesn't ban poor people but only individuals who cannot work, will not work, or are likely to rely on taxpayers to provide for their personal needs. Despite this law, President Clinton enacted a guideline in 1999 that instructed immigration officials to ignore welfare benefits like Medicaid, Food Stamps, housing, Head Start, and utility assistance when determining if foreigners were likely to become public charges. This guideline remained in effect until President Trump issued a regulation to consider such benefits in immigration applications. After a series of court challenges, Trump's regulation became effective nationwide in February 2020. In 2021, President Biden stopped defending this regulation in court and replaced it with Clinton's guidelines.

DocumentationPublic Charge LawBiden Actions



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