There has been a large increase in the denials of visas, particularly for immigrants coming from Mexico, because of the claim that the person is “likely to become a public charge.” This is the archaic term used by the government for someone who won’t be able to support himself or herself. In 2015, only 900 applications for permanent residence were denied on public charge grounds. In 2018, the number of denials reached 13,500.
Even though a proposed new “public charge” regulation has not been finalized, it appears that denials that go beyond earlier practices are being issued. The impact is being felt particularly by those immigrating from Mexico, where grants of immigrant visas are down by 11%. These changes only serve to keep families separated for longer periods of time. Ultimately they tend to encourage undocumented immigration.
Immigration lawyers believe that the Trump administration is trying to implement the proposed regulations on public charge without actually completing the necessary legal process.