Biden moves to reverse Trump-era limits on green cards

President Joe Biden speaks in support of changing the Senate filibuster rules that have stalled voting rights legislation, at Atlanta University Center Consortium, on the grounds of Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

SAN DIEGO — The Biden administration last week proposed reversing a rule that denies green cards to applicants who receive certain government benefits, one of former President Donald Trump’s signature moves to limit immigration. 

The administration stopped applying the more expansive Trump-era limits in March, making the announcement more of a formality to insulate it from legal challenges. Its publication in the Federal Register in the coming days will trigger a 60-day public comment period, followed by a final version. 

While the proposal has no immediate impact, it is an important step toward undoing Trump’s version of the “public charge” rule, as President Joe Biden promised during his campaign. 

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the rule was “not consistent with our nation’s values.” 

“Under this proposed rule, we will return to the historical understanding of the term ‘public charge’ and individuals will not be penalized for choosing to access the health benefits and other supplemental government services available to them,” Mayorkas said in a statement. 

The Biden administration’s revisions restore rules that do not consider use of noncash benefits like food stamps, health services and transportation vouchers when determining green-card eligibility.  

The Biden administration’s move was cheered by illegal immigration advocates, many of whom have had a strained relationship with the White House, saying they haven’t acted fast enough to reverse more of Trump’s policies.  

The proposal may still face legal challenges. Texas and other states have sought to stop Biden from undoing Trump’s immigration policies.