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Proposed change on government assistance rules may impact thousands of Haitian immigrants

Thousands of Haitian immigrants in the United States may be barred from applying for permanent residency in the U.S. if they have received welfare and long-term health care from the government.

Flatbush Brooklyn – Home to one of the largest populations of Haitians in America. Photo Credit: Garry Pierre-Pierre.

By Sam Bojarski

The Trump administration’s proposed changes to public charge rules, a term used by immigration officials to refer to a person dependent on government assistance, could impact thousands of Haitians, including Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, and discourage them from seeking public assistance. Haitian-Americans, as well as legal advocacy groups, have voiced opposition to the proposal, which expands the definition of what it means to be a public charge. A comment period on the rule ends Dec. 10.

Who it affects

Current public charge rules prevent many individuals receiving large amounts of income assistance or long-term health care from obtaining permanent residency. But the new proposal would also exclude immigrants who receive nutritional assistance, housing subsidies and health benefits like Medicaid, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Thousands of Haitian immigrants in the United States may be barred from applying for permanent residency in the U.S. if they have received welfare and long-term health care from the government. The new rule, which is set to go into effect on Dec. 10, could affect more than 600,000 Haitians, including TPS recipients.

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Sam Bojarski

Sam Bojarski

Sam Bojarski, a freelance journalist, has reported in communities from Pennsylvania to Port-au-Prince. His work has appeared in national publications, as well as local newspapers in his hometown of Pittsburgh.
Sam Bojarski
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Dec. 07, 2018