New Trump rule for family-based immigration could hit thousands of Indians

New Trump rule,New Trump rule for family-based immigration
Thousands of Indians hoping to immigrate to the United States stand in danger of being denied visas starting November if they were unable to prove they have health insurance or can cover their medical expenses, according to a new rule announced Friday to prevent immigrants from becoming a burden.

The new rule applies to immigrant visa applicants abroad, mostly those, analysts said, being sponsored by immediate relatives, and not those already present in the US such as H-1B visa holders whose Green Card applications were being sponsored by their American employers.
Doug Rand, an Obama White House immigration official, said some 23,000 Indians are likely to be impacted by the rule (not necessarily denied, but affected). There are an estimated 35,000 family-sponsored immigrants from India every year. Nearly a third of them are already in the US when they apply for their Green Card; and the rest come from India.

The order goes into effect November 3.

'Immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our health care system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs,' President Donald Trump said in on order issued Friday, using the same presidential authority under which he had earlier banned Muslims from certain countries as well as the asylum ban.

The White House said in an accompanying fact-sheet that the president's order was intended to 'ensure we protect the availability of healthcare benefits for American citizens'. Immigrants, it added, are three time more likely to lack health insurance than citizens and uncompensated healthcare cots have been in excess of $35 billion in each of the past 10 years.

'Large numbers of non-citizens have taken advantage of our country's generous public health programs,' the White House said.

Immigrant visa applicants will have to provide proof they will be covered by health insurance within 30 days of entering the United States or have the ability to pay for medical costs. And they will be required to furnish the proof before their visas were processed, not after or at the time of entry.

An immigrants visa is different from temporary travel/tour or work visas, and they are issued to foreign citizens sponsored by US citizens or lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders), immediate relatives, or prospective US employers, and have an approved petition before applying.

While US President Donald Trump has cracked down on undocumented immigrants — with border arrests and his controversial wall — be has also sought to tighten the rules for legal immigration, making asylum more difficult, for instance and denying poorer immigrants.

In August, the administration announced a rule to deny Green Cards to those who could become a 'public charge', needing state assistance for food, housing and health. Slated to go into effect in November, this rule would apply also to this already present in the US, who could have already used state assistance repeatedly.

Critics have said the 'public charge' rule make it difficult for anyone but rich, white immigrants from becoming citizens. The administration has pushed back saying it ensures immigrants are able to support themselves, and denied it discriminates against poor immigrants, or those from less developed regions of the world.