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Border & Immigration

New Rule Could Lead To Decline In Legal Immigration

Guadalupe Gonzalez, left, joins other immigrants taking the citizenship oath during naturalization ceremonies at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) ceremony in Los Angeles Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
Associated Press
Guadalupe Gonzalez, left, joins other immigrants taking the citizenship oath during naturalization ceremonies at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) ceremony in Los Angeles Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.

The government has finalized a new rule that would disqualify immigrants from legal residency if they've used a variety of public benefits. It’s now scheduled to be published on Wednesday and go into effect sixty days after that.

The new rule allows the government to deny permanent residency to immigrants who use services like healthcare, housing assistance, or food aid. In addition, it also allows the government to bar those who might need to use those services in the future.

New Rule Could Lead To Decline In Legal Immigration
Listen to this story by Max Rivlin-Nadler.

Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cucinelli announced the new rule at the White House on Monday morning. Cucinelli’s predecessor was forced out of the agency in part for not wanting to move ahead as quickly on the new rule.

RELATED: Fear Of New Rule Might Be Impacting Immigrant Applications For Public Benefits

"Through the public charge rule, President Trump's administration is reinforcing the ideal of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, ensuring that immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful in America," Cucinelli said.

Lillian Serrano, the chair of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, spoke with KPBS Midday Edition about the difficult decisions San Diego’s immigrants will now have to face.

“No one should have to decide whether they put food on their table or they get to be in this country legally,” Serrano said.

Enrollments in public benefits in San Diego county have dropped since the rule was first proposed last year, but county officials wouldn’t say whether it was due to fear related to this new rule.

California Attorney General Xavier Beccera has pledged to “take legal action” to challenge the new rule.

“This vile rule is the Trump Administration’s latest attack on families and lower income communities of color,” Becerra said in a statement. “It will harm our communities, schools, and workplaces by weaponizing essential healthcare, housing, and nutrition programs. We will not stand idly by while this Administration targets programs that children and families across our state rely upon.”

San Diego Gas and Electric is looking to nearly quadruple the minimum bill it charges customers. Plus, a fourth horse has died during this racing season after sustaining a “serious injury” during training. Also ahead on today’s podcast, an inewsource investigation looks into the impacts of renovations on SDSU’s campus on the health of students, faculty and staff.