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The Weekly Round-Up: White House Proposes Cuts to Government Benefits for Immigrants, Temporary Protection for Liberians, and New Jersey School to Require Warrants from Immigration Officers

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President Trump Proposal Severely Limits Government Benefits for Immigrants

A leaked proposed rule from the White House, if instituted, would deny almost all public benefits for non-American citizens, including certain tax deductions, potentially affected millions of immigrants and foreigners seeking to come to the United States.

Currently, if an immigrant accepts certain types of “means-tested benefits” – such as food stamps and Medicaid – the government can request that the immigrant, or the immigrant’s financial sponsor, repay some or all of the money provided.  The proposed rule, as reported in the Washington Post, would add new types of benefits to this list, including refundable tax income credits, healthcare subsidies, and many noncash benefits.  Additionally, immigration officials may require immigrants, who they deem at risk of accepting public benefits, to post a bond of $10,000 or more.  The rule would mean that immigrants would likely need to provide far more proof than in the past of their ability to financially support themselves for an extended period of time.

Trump Ends Protection for Liberians

The White House announced that it was ending protective status for Liberians who came to the United States in and around 1999 following a violent civil war.

The decision, announced on Tuesday, gives more than 800,000 Liberians one year to leave the United States, seek a new type of immigration status, or be subject to deportation.  Many of these Liberians, who have lived in the United States with their families for the past 20 years, will now return to a country for which they now have very little connection.  Earlier this month, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, along with U.S. Representative Erik Paulsen, submitted a public letter to President Trump stating that “Minnesota has one of the largest Liberian populations in the country.  Many of them have been in our state for decades, and they are an important part of our communities, where they serve as business owners, teachers, and health care workers.  It is for this reason that we ask you to extend the DED protections for Liberians now in effect before they expire at the end of this month.”

Nevertheless, President Trump decided to end the protection, determining that “Liberia is no longer experiencing armed conflict. Liberia has concluded reconstruction from prior conflicts, which has contributed significantly to an environment that is able to handle adequately the return of its nationals.”

Since becoming president, Trump has also ended temporary protection for people from Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Sudan.  If you have temporary protected status from Liberia or any of the other countries listed above and need to leave the United States soon, please contact an experienced immigration attorney to discuss your rights to remain in the United States.

Hackensack Elementary School Board Votes to Protect Immigrants

Schools officials from Hackensack, New Jersey, voted unanimously to block Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers from entering schools without a warrant signed by a judge.

While ICE has stated that it will avoid enforcement operations in certain sensitive areas, including schools, Board of Education and New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice member Johanna Calle stated this week that “we . . . have seen . . . immigration enforcement operations near schools.”  Moreover, as reported in northjersey.com, the school district was concerned about the release of private student information.  Under the new rules, in addition to barring ICE officers who lack a warrant, any requests for information about students would first be forwarded to both the superintendent and district attorney for review.  Calle stated that “it is required of us to protect the safety and information of our families and our students, and that’s what we’re going to be doing.”

If you have questions about topics covered in today’s weekly round-up, or other immigration matters, contact me at wcmenard@nmmlaw.com.