“Keep out your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…”
Trump administration moves to impose class-based restrictions on immigration
26 September 2018
On Saturday night, the Trump administration quietly announced a change to immigration regulations that will effectively bar immigrants from acquiring legal status if their families have used social programs.
The change, which will go into effect after a pro-forma 60-day public comment period, is a monumental attack on the international working class. The explicit formalization of a class-based immigration system marks a turning point that will substantially alter the state of social relations in favor of the rich.
The new policy labels all undocumented immigrants who have ever used cash- or non-cash benefits as “public charges.” Working class immigrants whose families have used programs like food stamps, Section 8 housing assistance, subsidized housing under the Housing Act of 1937, Medicaid or health care subsidies under Medicare Part D will now be relegated to permanent illegality.
According to the new rule, an income below 125 percent of the federal poverty level ($31,400 for a family of four) will be a “negative factor” in considering a green card or a visa application. On the contrary, an income over 250 percent of the federal poverty line will count as a “strong positive factor.” In other words, wealthy immigrants will be approved to travel and immigrate while the working class will be forced to live in the shadows.
Tens of millions of workers will be affected by the change. Just under 10 million undocumented workers, most of whom have escaped brutal poverty and violence in countries devastated by US imperialism, have already used the benefits outlined in the rule.
Beyond this 10 million, almost all…