Washington officials to fight new rules disqualifying immigrants from public assistance

Washington officials vowed to fight a new federal rule that would disqualify immigrants who use certain public assistance from obtaining a green card or visa, saying it could affect an estimated 1 million people in the Evergreen State.

Democratic Governor Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, both frequent critics of the Trump administration who have challenged other new federal policies, objected to the proposed change when it was announced in April and said they would fight the final version after it made public Monday.

The new federal rule, set to take effect in 60 days, would allow immigration officials to deny green cards and legal status to applicants who receive Medicaid, housing assistance, or food stamps for 12 months over a three-year period. Green card applicants would be required to submit tax returns along with a history of employment.

Inslee released data that said Washington has an estimated 1 million immigrants and some 450,000 children live in a home with at least one immigrant parent.

The new rules could cut 140,000 residents off subsidized health care, while about 2,000 immigrant families could lose rental assistance.

Inslee noted that taking an estimated $55 million in food stamps away from immigrant households not only could increase hunger but hurt the state’s farm economy. (Spokesman-Review)