WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Last month, the Trump administration announced a new rule that would limit legal immigration to those who will not require public assistance like food stamps to live in the United States.
It’s called the “public charge” rule and it’s been on the books for years, but the Trump administration believes it needs to be more widely applied to slow legal immigration.
Two Senate Democrats have introduced legislation to prevent the new rule from taking effect.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, says it’s Congress’s duty to speak up against the president’s approach to handling the nation’s immigration crisis.
“As a result of these policies, we will be a smaller and a lesser nation,” he said. “The fact is that one in seven adults in immigrant families has already started avoiding public benefits.”
Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, says the expanded rule will hurt immigrants.
“I do think the Trump administration, one of their daily goals is to come up with some mean, cruel thing that they can do to immigrants every single day,” she said.
Blumenthal and Hirono introduced the Protect American Values Act in hopes of blocking the “public charge” rule.
When the rule was announced, acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli explained the need for it.
“Congress has never defined the term ‘public charge’ in the law and that term hadn’t been clearly defined by regulation,” Cuccinelli said.
According to Cuccinelli, the Trump administration is reinforcing the need for self-sufficiency.
“Personal responsibility—ensuring immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful here in America,” he added.
But Blumenthal says it’s something Congress cannot allow.
“We cannot allow Congress to be complicit in these policies,” he said.