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New rules could lead to deportation for some green card holders

We've recently discussed how, under the current administration, a person's immigration status — even if they're a naturalized citizen — may not be as secure as they believed. This includes people who have received legal residence permits, i.e., green cards.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has implemented new guidelines that could send some green card holders to immigration court. The new guidelines involve the "reception of public benefits" available through state and federal programs. If the government believes that a person has engaged in "fraud or willful misrepresentation" of their situation, they may face deportation.

Legal U.S. residents currently may be able to qualify for a number of government-provided benefits to help them support themselves and their families if they have an established need because of their incomes or disabilities. These programs include Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Those people who are suspected of providing inaccurate information to receive these benefits may be issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) by immigration officials. This is the first step to possible deportation.

Another proposal by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would make it more difficult for people to get green cards if they are receiving government benefits for themselves or their children. A draft of the proposal says, in part, "An alien's receipt of public benefits comes at taxpayer expense and availability of public benefits may provide an incentive for aliens to immigrate to the United States."

Whether you are in the process of applying for a green card, you already have one or you're exploring the possibility of becoming a U.S. citizen, the state of flux of immigration policies can be confusing and frustrating. You may want to seek guidance from a Maryland immigration attorney.

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