Kilili: New USCIS rule won’t affect CNMI

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Posted on Aug 15 2019

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The CNMI remains unaffected by a new U.S. Department of Homeland Security rule that might prevent legal immigrants from getting a green card or U.S. citizenship if they avail of “public resources,” according to Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) yesterday.

According to Sablan, the new final rule, which was published Tuesday, affects only those who avail of Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, and Public Housing programs.

“We are not covered,” he said. “There is no one in the Northern Marianas who is not a citizen who gets these benefits.”

Sablan further noted that the new regulation specifically applies to only these federal programs.

DHS published the final rule in the Federal Register, limiting the admissibility of aliens who apply for adjustment of status or admissibility if they availed of a financial assistance program.

Saipan Tribune obtained a copy of the newly-published 837-page rule yesterday.

The new rule changes how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services interprets and implements the public charge as ground of inadmissibility, defining “public charge” as an individual who avails of federal financial assistance programs.

“The Immigration and Nationality Act [INA] renders inadmissible and therefore ineligible for a visa; ineligible for admission; and ineligible for adjustment of status, any alien who, in the opinion of the DHS…is likely to become a public charge,” it stated in a statement.

The decision to determine the admissibility or inadmissibility of an applicant dependst not only on the immigrant’s probability to become a public charge, the statement said.

“…The public charge statute provides that in making the inadmissibility determination, administering agencies must ‘at a minimum consider the alien’s age; health; family status; assets; resources; and financial status; and education and skills,’” it added.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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