The Trump administration unveiled a new rule on Monday that could deny visas and permanent residency to hundreds of thousands of people for being too poor.
The new policy would reject applicants for temporary or permanent visas who fail to meet income standards or who receive public assistance, including food stamps, welfare and public housing.
Coming into force on October 15th,the change aims to ensure that immigrants are "self-sufficient," according to the administration.
"Through the public charge rule, President Trump's administration is reinforcing the ideals of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, ensuring that immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful here in America."
The 837-page rule seeks to redefine what it means to be a "public charge," and who is likely to be one under U.S. immigration law.
The current regulations, put in place back in 1996, say the term "public charge" is defined as someone who is "primarily dependent" on government assistance, meaning it supplies more than half of their income.
From now on, wealth, education, age and English-language skills will take on greater importance in the process of obtaining a green card.
Showing higher levels of income is now much more necessary for visa applicants.
Immigrant advocates argue that the rule would discriminate against those from poorer countries and eventually prompt legal residents to give up needed public aid.
AP reported over 380,000 out of the 540,000 applicants every year will have to face the new evaluations.
And according to the Migration Policy Institute, more than half of all family-based green card applications would be denied under the new rules.
KIM Da-mi, Arirang News.