Crazy Rich Asians Not the Only Ones Coming to America



Stricter rules to prevent immigrants from landing as “public charges” on government assistance could upgrade the financial profile of new arrivals, and lead to more deportations of those who don’t make the cut.

“Demonstrating income or financial assets over 250 percent of the federal poverty line (about $62,000 for a family of four) would be a heavily weighted positive factor for immigrants seeking permanent residency in the U.S.,” the Migration Policy Institute states in a review of yet-to-be-released guidelines.

Under current rules, only about 3 percent of immigrants are at risk of being classified as public charges. MPI estimates that the new rules could result in nearly half of the U.S. noncitizen population falling into that category.

MPI said the Trump administration may be contemplating changing the standard for when receipt of public benefits can be used as grounds for deportation of legally present noncitizens.

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Asian immigrants would be especially affected by the proposed higher income thresholds, MPI said.

“Because the share of all U.S. immigrants coming from Asia has risen in recent years, Asians would end up being the most disadvantaged group numerically, with more than 1 million recent legal noncitizens in families with incomes under 250 percent of poverty,” MPI reported.

Emigrants from just two Asian nations — India and Japan — had large percentages of family incomes at or above 250 percent poverty: India at 75 percent and Japan at 69 percent.

By contrast, only 36.1 percent of China/Hong Kong emigrants would have cleared the income threshold. Same for Vietnamese. Just 43.4 percent of arrivals from Korea would have made the cut. Filipinos fared better at 61.2 percent.

Overall, 52 percent of recent immigrants from Asia fell below the 250 percent benchmark.

Still, Asians topped their counterparts from Africa and Mexico/Central America. Sixty-nine percent of African emigrants had incomes under the 250 standard, as did 71 percent of Mexican/Central Americans.

While noting that the “250 percent” threshold is not be the only qualifier in the public-charge overhaul, MPI said government adjudicators would have “enormous discretion to deny admission or green cards” to individuals with incomes or financial assets below that line.

 “It is not possible to know in advance how the Trump administration would exercise its discretion, (but) it is clear that the approach taken in the draft rule would provide extraordinary latitude that could readily be used both to sharply alter legal immigration flows and to tilt the criteria for admissions and green cards away from family-based admissions and individuals unable to meet the 250 percent threshold,” MPI concluded.

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

3 Comments

    • avatar

      Where does it say anywhere in the proposed new guidelines that it will apply to only one group or ethnicity?

  1. avatar

    Old saying is that “the proof is in the pudding”. The facts, the unvarnished truth, are that a large percentage of even legal immigrants end up on some kind of government assistance, something that is NOT supposed to happen. Frequently legal immigrants agree that they will pay for their parents expenses and then a couple years later they claim circumstances have changed and mom and dad have to go on SSI.

    Apparently everyone is supposed to feel bad about McCain. Maybe, but he is the epitome of everything wrong with the politicians in this country. The last 2 times he ran, he had a primary opponent calling for stronger borders and then McCain would run ads saying things like “just finish the dang fence”. And when mr. tough guy was reelected the first thing he would do is get together with the Democrats to try and pass some huge amnesty bill. He has also been a proponent of perpetual war. Just let somebody suggest that maybe it’s not worth all the money and lives we have poured into bottomless pits like Iraq and Afghanistan and he’s all over them. His rash and sudden decision to pick the utterly unqualified Palin as VP doomed his candidacy because a huge amount of independents could not accept her.

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