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New policy could affect 400,000 green card holders

A new Trump administration policy that could deny green card holders access from public assistance programs like Medicaid is receiving mixed reactions.

Posted: Aug 12, 2019 8:21 PM

CALIFORNIA - A new Trump administration policy that could deny green card holders access from public assistance programs like Medicaid is receiving mixed reactions.

San Rafael's Canal Alliance is trying to reassure clients after the latest change to the immigration system.

The current administration will now be more likely to reject green card and visa applications if a candidate has a low income, little education or has used public benefits like food stamps or Medicaid.

"This is not people just staying home and receiving public benefits. This is people that are already in the market, working, and contributing to our community, but they're just using these public benefits that they're entitled to," said Lucia Martel-Dow of the Canal Alliance.

Ken Cuccinello, head of Immigration Services, has announced the expansion with the new rules being like a public assistance scorecard.

"Will generally considered an alien's current and past receipt of the designated public benefits while in the United States as a negative factor when examining applications," said Cuccinello.

The Alameda County Food Bank is expecting more people as they shy away from County help.

"This policy intentionally is going to increase hunger in our community thousand for thousands of families," said Stephen Knight, of the food bank.

Then there could be financial fallout because many of these public assistance programs are funded based on demand.

"So, if they don't apply for those benefits that they're entitled to, then that means that could potentially have less funding. And that has an impact on our community," said Dow.

The program is expected to affect nearly 400,000 people and does not apply to those who have come to the country as refugees or asylum seekers.

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A disturbance moved over northern California and the rest of the Pacific Northwest this afternoon. It brought more gusty wind like yesterday, and cooler air, but only isolated rain showers. It will be much quieter this weekend with a late summer warmup.
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