Jamaicans often have family members in the US who petition on their behalf for green cards. In 2018, the US Embassy in Kingston issued over 13,000 immigrant visas/green cards.
On August 12, 2019, the Trump administration introduced a new policy that is estimated to affect more than 400,000 people annually. Apart from the Jamaicans who received visa/green cards in 2018, it could also possibly affect over 8,000 Jamaicans in 2020 who are currently in the process of having family members petitioning for a green card on their behalf.
This policy will change how the US Government decides whether someone is a ‘financial burden’ on society or a ‘public charge’, allowing officials to deny applications for visas or green cards.
This policy will affect those who use or who will likely use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Section 8 housing vouchers, public housing, Medicaid or the low-income subsidy for prescription drug expenses through Medicare Part D.
This new policy could deny green cards to immigrants and make it more difficult for some to obtain legal status in the US.
The policy will take effect in October.
Federal law already requires those seeking green cards and legal status to prove that they will not be a burden to the US. This new policy will detail a broader range of programs that could disqualify people seeking legal status.