Trump wants to charge people who sponsored their immigrant family members for green cards if those family members needed public assistance to get on their feet.
Trump stepped up his attacks on immigrants on Thursday by issuing a memo going after the sponsors of green card holders.
The memo orders Trump administration officials to issue new rules in the coming months to force anyone who sponsored a legal immigrant — such as a close family member who is already a U.S. citizen or green card holder — to pay back the government for any federal benefit used by that immigrant, including benefits like food assistance or medical care. The memo relies on a provision in a 1996 law that has been rarely, if ever, enforced in the past.
Without citing any evidence, a Trump administration press release claims there is "rampant abuse" of the welfare system by non-citizens. Pro-immigrant advocates see the action as the latest in a long line of attacks on immigrants from the Trump administration.
"Trump will do anything to send immigrant families the message that if you're not white and wealthy, you're not welcome — or even safe — here," Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, and Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy, said in a joint statement.
In addition, they slammed Trump's "brutal, reckless, dangerous, inhumane agenda."
The exact language of the memo was not released, so it is unclear how many immigrants and sponsors the new rules could impact. The U.S. issues about 1 million green cards every year, but not all green card holders are even eligible for benefits.
Trump has used his time in office to regularly attack the immigrant community, especially those who come across the U.S.-Mexico border. From his family separation policy to demanding asylum-seekers pay a fee to seek refuge in the United States, Trump's animosity is unmistakable.
"This is an administration obsessed with attacking immigrants," Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) told Shareblue Media in April. "And they will go to any lengths in order to make America white again."
Time and again, Trump has shown there is no end to his relentless attacks on the immigrant community — even those who are in the country legally with green cards.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.