AP/Susan Walsh

Officials: Trump rule change could seriously hurt New York City immigrants

October 11, 2018 - 12:11 pm

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Tens of thousands of immigrants living in New York legally might have to give up social benefits if they want to pursue permanent residency.

New York City officials told the Daily News that 75,000 immigrants could be affected under President Donald Trump's proposed 'public charge' rule change.

"For us, as an administration, this is yet again another attack on immigrants, particularly low- and middle-income immigrants -- who are in some cases eligible for these benefits and able to receive them," Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Bitta Mostofi said. "And in other [cases> might, in the future, have to choose between access to food and healthcare and housing and obtaining stabilized immigration status."

The Department of Homeland Security calls the rule a cost cutting measure, but Mostofi says it could prevent immigrants from accessing things like food stamps. It would not apply to refugees, those given asylum, or those with permanent resident status.

The Daily News reports, the proposed rule would allow other factors to endanger an immigrant's green card application, with age, health insurance, household size, and income level becoming factors. In the future, officials say some 400,000 more immigrants could be affected.

"In total, that's about 475,000 individuals who might in the near future or prospectively seek to stabilize their status, and could be subject to this test, and based on the factors outlined both in terms of benefit eligibility as well as that further analysis, could be found ineligible," Mostofi said.

Some 220,000 New York City residents are not citizens, but are in the country legally and receive food stamp and cash assistance benefits, with another 54,000 getting Supplemental Security Income.

Human Resources Commissioner Steve Banks told the Daily News that the city could wind up losing $235 million in federal funding, and deal a blow to economic activity. That's in addition to the policy's impact on people relying on those services.

"That's not to even mention the health impact of people who, in fear, give up their receipt of benefits and then suffer what will clearly be an absolute adverse health consequence," Banks added.

Banks said the benefits are only available to those who are here legally.

The rule has not yet been adopted.