DHS: Rule may close door on new regional immigrants

Gaynor D. Daleno | The Guam Daily Post Aug 19, 2019

The Trump administration’s new rule barring new immigrants from entering the United States if they’re unable to sustain themselves financially might apply to citizens from the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and Republic of Marshall Islands, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has stated.

Compact immigrants who are already in the United States might not be affected, states DHS, the umbrella department for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which published the new rule on Aug. 14 on uscis.gov.

USCIS' new rule further defines immigrants who might become ineligible to enter the United States if they are at risk of becoming a “public charge” or a burden on federal government services.

The final rule goes into effect on Oct. 15.

In the public comment process, before the rule became final, DHS was asked if immigrants from the Compact of Free Association nations of FSM, Palau and the Marshall Islands – would be affected.

DHS states, in part: “Congress did not exempt foreign nationals entering the United States under COFA from the public charge ground of inadmissibility, or otherwise modify the applicability of such ground of inadmissibility with respect to COFA migrants.”

“DHS acknowledges that COFA migrants may be affected by this rulemaking when applying for admission at a port of entry or when applying for adjustment of status before USCIS, but respectfully submits that Congress never exempted COFA nonimmigrants from the public charge ground of inadmissibility.”

DHS issued the response after a comment was posted when the rule was still a proposal. “One commenter stated that ‘[t]his rule could be used to deny COFA entry and ability to live in the [United States] thereby abandoning our nation's commitment to our Pacific allies, including the more than 61,000 COFA persons currently residing in the United States.’”

DHS countered, "Congress expressly reiterated DHS's authority 'to provide that admission as a nonimmigrant shall be for such time and under such conditions as the government of the United States may – by regulations – prescribe.'”

The new rule defines the term “public charge” to mean an individual who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months, in the aggregate, within any 36-month period. For instance, the receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months. The rule further defines the term “public benefit” to include any cash benefits for income maintenance, including from Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, most forms of Medicaid, and certain housing programs including the Section 8 rent voucher program.

GHURA seeks guidance

DHS adds that immigrants from the FSM, Palau and the Marshall Islands who are already in the United States “are unlikely to be affected by public benefits condition applicable to extension of stay applications.” Immigrants from the Compact nations don't need to apply for an extension of stay in the United States once they have arrived.

In the meantime, the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority is seeking clarification from the federal government on households from the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands who are on public housing assistance programs funded by the federal government and being run by GHURA.

“We are monitoring USCIS’ decision as 39% of our families are COFA citizens. We aren’t certain at this time what HUD’s position would be on this matter. We will cross that bridge when or if we get there,” stated GHURA Executive Director Ray Topasna.

More than 3,370 households in GHURA’s housing programs are from the Compact nations, he said.

The National Immigration Law Center has filed a lawsuit challenging the new rule.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the center, stated in a news release, “This news is a cruel new step toward weaponizing programs that are intended to help people by making them, instead, a means of separating families and sending immigrants and communities of color one message: You are not welcome here.

“It will have a dire humanitarian impact, forcing some families to forgo critical lifesaving health care and nutrition. The damage will be felt for decades to come,” she added, in part.



  • I wish the leaders from the three FAS demand that this rule change for the betterment of their citizens. these programs were setted to help, in this case the citzens of these FAS can be helped to advance their ability to adapt and advance in such society different from heir own, If the given and take is to allow the citizens free access to the unitede states then a need to establish a new mechnisum in place to help the citizen get the training and knowledge the need to better prepare themselves to be able to transist out of these program to a self reliance statue../otherwise, the COFA dont mean anything to the FAS and its citizen.
  • When Secretary of State Michael Pompeo visited FSM Micronesia, he said, " Beyond defense and security, the United States will continue to offer assistance with natural disasters and will continue to help you build strong societies by supporting the Young Pacific Leaders initiative. And we’ll join with you to tackle health challenges too. We talked about that at some length. We’ll help keep your economies competitive and strengthen your democratic institutions." And finally, we’re taking concrete action to solidify our bonds".

    How is this new Trump Admin DHS Immigration rule going to help solidify our bonds with the US?

    How is the US going to join FSM or the FAS countries tackle Heath Challenges of Micronesians with the new DHS rule limiting the entry or # of months/years of Micronesians utilizing the Medicaid, SNAP or SSI benefits?

    Nothing but a disguised form of SANCTIONS by the US.

    How amazing.....after slapping sanctions on the Russians, Chinese, Indians, Koreans, Syrians, Venezuelans, Iranians....now the new DHS rules will not let Micronesians entry into the US if they become a burden to the US Gov. It's like, "Sorry, you no can stay or come to the US if you gonna be on welfare & medicaid for 2 -3 years"

    So why don't or can't the FAS countries put a limit to the # of years of US access, control of defense & security of our region? Terminate the Compact now & start negotiating Defense & Security agreements with the Chinese or Russians. You will see how quick you're gonna bring the Anti-Imimigrant NEOCON knuckleheads to the negotiation table sooner than you ever imagine.

  • Its good to take note that the word "Might" is used in this so called news. It might be true or might not be true or possible. Not written in stone.

    And please stop the Trump related news in this forum since we are in agreement that Trump has no impact on the FAS states as we can see.

    Its only micronesian related and worthy to post about Trump in here if its negative or fear related.

  • 12 U.S. states file lawsuit against DHS rule on immigrant families

    Wednesday, August 14th 2019
    RICHLAND, Wash. -

    Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson today co-led a coalition of 13 states in filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security over changes to the “public charge” rule that target immigrants and their families.

    The 169-page complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, asserts that the Trump Administration’s new rule unlawfully expands the definition of “public charge,” in violation of federal immigration statutes, the Welfare Reform Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

    Under the changes, if an immigrant who is legally in the country uses benefits to which he or she is entitled such as food assistance to feed their U.S. citizen children or housing assistance even for a short time, the federal government may revoke their legal status, or even deport them.

    Even if an individual does not use these benefits, the new rule expands the government’s ability to deny a visa or permanent residency to any immigrant it predicts will use a broad range of short-term benefits at any point in the future, without clear standards for making that determination.

    Federal law allows many lawful immigrants to apply for public benefits if they have been in the country for at least five years.

    The new rule creates a “bait-and-switch” if immigrants use the public assistance to which they are legally entitled, they would jeopardize their chances of later renewing their visa or becoming permanent residents.

    “The Trump Administration’s message is clear: if you’re wealthy you’re welcome, if you’re poor, you’re not,” said Ferguson. “It forces families into an impossible choice — to sacrifice their dream of becoming Americans in order to provide health care, food or a roof over their children’s heads, or let their families go without in order to remain in the country. This rule is un-American, anti-immigrant and unlawful. I intend to stop it.”

    “Washington will always be a state that stands with immigrants and no action by the Trump administration, either through deeds or words, can change that,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “This latest attack on hard-working immigrant families, including those who already have visas or family members who are U.S.-born, does not hold up our nation's ideals and harms communities throughout our state. I fully support this action by the Attorney General to stand against the devastating impacts of this xenophobic policy.”

    “In New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty stands tall and holds a torch that lights the way,” Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan said. “And I'll remind Mr. Cuccinelli that it proclaims: ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’ This rule contradicts the fundamental values on which the promise of America is built. I am grateful to Attorney General Ferguson for fighting the president’s anti-immigrant and anti-family agenda, and to Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes for ensuring our City protects the constitutional freedoms of our communities.”

    Under long-standing law and policies, a public charge is an individual whose survival depends upon a specific public benefit cash assistance or who is institutionalized for long-term care at government expense. This does not include temporary assistance, such as food or housing assistance or health care. Immigration officers can deny new visas, visa renewals and lawful permanent residency under the public charge rule only if the applicant meets this concrete definition. If an individual already present in the United States becomes a public charge, they can be deported.

    Under the new rule, a public charge now will include lawfully present individuals or families who will use a broad range of federal assistance for housing, food or health care at any time in the future, for as short as four months.

    Many of the types of assistance that will now be included in making public charge determinations are programs that beneficiaries tend to use for short periods.

    For example, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 60 percent of individuals receiving food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) use benefits for three years or less.

    Nearly one-third of individuals receiving food assistance use the benefit for less than one year.

    The new definition expands immigration officials’ ability to deny visas and permanent residency to any individual who they predict may use these types of assistance in the future.

    If permanent residents who have used government assistance leave the country for 180 days, they may also be labeled a public charge when they apply to return, potentially losing their status.

    The new rule does not apply to undocumented immigrants, because they cannot access federal benefits without a lawful status.

  • MAGA reduce those fuckin micros from coming in and stinking up white America. Right repo? White power.
  • discrimination to immigrants of color, but not so much to the same of white. Make America all white? Screw the states secretary agenda if he stick to this new rule but the good news is more then half of the voters don't agree with such thing. America is already built by immigrant and nothing they can do to change that!
  • Please deport all the freeloaders back here where they all belong!
  • Once all the "freeloader" immigrants to America are deported back to Europe, the indigenous native Americans will finally have their land back.

    Great plan. lol
  • Another mainstream media fear mongering. Its utter BS. That is all the liberal media do now. 24-7 fear mongering news. The entire collusion premise by the media and Democrats all have been can i say proven to be utter BS. This is their last card they have. Fear mongering. I saw this : Trump only want rich immigrants in the NYT couple of days ago. The NYT bet big on the Russian BS saga. 2 years of BS about Russia and Mueller proved that it was all nothing but BS.

    Race divisiveness and immigrant fear mongering and hoping for the economy to go down is all they have now. And please lets stop reporting Trump related news in this forum because his policies have no effect on Micronesia whatsoever. Clearly.

  • Elizabeth Warren is white. She ain't no native. Just another liberal claiming minority status to get a big paycheck. Trump has more native American blood than Elizabeth Warren and he has no native American ancestry. Hahaha

    Sad what happened to the native Americans but hey its how human nature is. How the world has beem before America was established. Sad but true. And it will happen even if America is gone.

    If liberals hate America because its so bad you can always move to the people's Republic of China and North Korea and Venezuela. Socialists should go to specialists countries don't like it in the USA move elsewhere.

    I can start a go fund me page for you socialists to help you guys move to China or Venezuela. Any volunteers?
  • Social security and Medicare is a socialist program. No one complaining in here. Hahahaha
  • When just three Americans have more wealth than half of the entire U.S. population, it's called socialism for the rich.

    The three wealthiest individuals are Bill Gates of Microsoft with $89 billion, Jeff Bezos of Amazon with $81.5 billion and Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway with $78 billion.

    Their total wealth of $248.5 billion was higher than the wealth of the bottom 160 million Americans, at $245 billion.

    So, yes, America is a socialist welfare state now....at least for very rich people like Trump and his friends.
  • Ain't the 3 richest Americans liberals? Hahaha all voted democrats. Bezoz own Washington Post, Bill Gates donated to Obama and Clinton.

  • I can't wait for these liberals to move to China or Cuba or Venezuela. No wait they won't. The love capitalism and Democracy. Both of which these LIBERALS hate. Why are they still in democracy and capitalism America?

  • They hate Democracy and capitalism but here they are still in America and Micronesia which are build by these 2 things they hate.

  • Socialism for Trump and the Republicans
  • Trump believes in generous socialism and tax breaks for rich, white men only.
  • Trump announced to the world during his state of the Union that the US will never be a socialist country. Tax breaks create jobs. That is why the US economy has been booming ever since Trump signed his tax law. JFK, also did the same. More families are getting more income and are spending their money because of Trumps tax cuts.

    Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Jay-Z, David Stewart, Robert F. Smith are billionaires and they are african americans. These black billionaires are also using Trumps tax cuts. So not for the whites only.

  • If you are smart you can also use Trumps tax cuts law to your advantage. Like i did. Got a extra 2,500 dollars out of it. America was founded on entrepreneurship. If you work hard the sky is the limit. You don't sit around and wait for handouts. Democrats want us to demand handouts and Democrats want to be the ones giving out the handouts. This is how they wrecked and destroyed black families everywhere in America. This is how they control the colored people in their party.

  • See how visa and factsmatter are silent. They know what i said is the truth.
  • Hypocrite at its best..ahahah
  • Yes true. Democrats are hypocrites. Speaking against the tax break law while using it like the Clintons and Obama's and Bernie Sanders. True hypocrites.
  • Three more states sue Trump administration over 'public charge' immigration rule

    New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against proposed new rules expanding the kinds of public aid immigrants can potentially be denied a green card for receiving, arguing it “implements this Administration’s explicit animus against immigrants of color.”

    James jointly filed the suit in Manhattan federal court with New York City’s law department and Connecticut and Vermont’s respective state attorneys general. Thirteen other states had already filed a suit against the proposed change last week.

    The rule would add Medicaid and food stamps to the list of programs whose past recipients could be deemed a “public charge,” potentially jeopardizing their ability to become citizens.

    In the lawsuit, James argues the rule, which advocates have argued will disproportionately affect immigrants from developing nations in Central America and Africa, is based on racial bias, specifically citing President Trump’s "shithole countries" reference.

    She further argues that it contravenes “a century’s worth of case law,” writing that, historically, immigrants who rely on noncash benefits cannot be considered public charges.

    “Finally, the rule fundamentally misunderstands that these non-cash programs are designed to help immigrants who arrive in this country with limited means move out of poverty and achieve upward mobility,” James said in a statement.

    Opponents of the rule have argued it would lead to lower quality of life for immigrants who forgo assistance they may need to survive for fear of running afoul of the policy.

    “The Trump Administration’s thinly veiled efforts to only allow those who meet their narrow ethnic, racial and economic criteria to gain a path to citizenship is a clear violation of our laws and our values,” James said in a statement.

    “Quite simply, under this rule, more children will go hungry, more families will go without medical care and more people will be living in the shadows and on the streets. We cannot and we will not let that happen,” she added.

    James first announced her office’s intention to sue over the rule last week, amid widespread Democratic backlash to the proposed change.

  • Yeah more children will go hungry will be true like the Russian investigation. False and fear mongering. Fake news. 13 states aka 13 Democrats state. Hahaha

Sign In or Register to comment.