FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Arkansas United Executive Director Mireya Reith said she’s worried about a change in federal regulation concerning immigration.
“President Trump shortly after winning office declared that he was likely to go in this direction with his administration, which was to put barriers not just on undocumented immigration, but also the legal immigration process,” Reith said.
The new rule concerns public charge and is implemented by the Department of Homeland Security.
In layman’s terms: is someone going to be a burden on the government?
Aaron Cash is an attorney in Rogers who specializes in immigration law. He said there is already a law in place, but more factors may now be considered.
“Basically, what it does is it expands the ways that immigration or Department of Homeland Security can prohibit someone from legally coming here by saying you’re likely to become a burden on the government,” Cash said.
Age, background, education and income are all taken into account.
Reith said she thinks this is about money.
“It’s as simple as that. It’s somehow the indication of your value to this country is supposed to be based on the amount of money you make or how much money you perceive to make,” Reith explained.
Reith said that her group is fighting the implementation of the rule.
“We as activists are simultaneously pursuing this in the courts, as well as with Congress in terms of taking action,” Reith said.
Arkansas Sen. Bart Hester said he agrees with the government’s attempts to quell the immigration crisis.
“It’s heart-wrenching to see this happen, but right now, you’ve got to go through a very difficult stage to get to the better place, which is a controlled border, which makes all Americans safer,” Hester said.
However, Cash said this particular issue concerns those who are going through legal channels.
“People often times talk about illegal immigration, but this is legal immigration, and it’s a restriction that’s going to be taking effect in October of this year,” Cash said.
Cash said those who are deemed a public charge can post an $8,100 cash bond. He said the new rule could lead to permanent separation of immigrant family members in different countries.