President Trump has revived a 19th-Century rule targeting hundreds of thousands of poor immigrants deemed likely to become “public charges,” with dependence on public benefits. In 1882, the United States established one of its first ways of keeping out poor immigrants. It didn’t require a border wall, just a law that directed immigration officials to block people they deemed likely to become public charges. On Monday, the Trump administration revived the public charge rule to keep out working-class immigrants who now disproportionately come from Mexico and Central America. The new law goes into effect on October 15.
The Trump administration estimates the rule will save $2.47 billion annually in spending on public benefits. The status of 382,000 migrants will be reviewed on those grounds, although immigrant advocates fear the real number could be much higher. Any foreign national who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months within any 36 months will be a public charge. Across the United States, there are 9.5 million families with children on SNAP food tokens. It is the most extensive programme working to fight hunger in America.