How Is the New Rule Different From Current Policy?

The president’s proposal would redefine the test to require most immigrants seeking green cards to show that they have a middle-class income: specifically, more than 250 percent of the federal poverty line, which is $62,750 for a family of four—about $12,000 more than the earnings of a typical full-time worker.

Immigrants would also fail the test if officials decided that they were “likely” to receive almost any public service, tax credit, or assistance based on income at any point in the future. This includes non-emergency Medicaid, Medicare Part D, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), and housing assistance programs (including Federal Public Housing, Section 8 housing vouchers, and Section 8 project-based rental assistance).

The new rule also singles out people with disabilities or serious health conditions. If an immigrant has “a medical condition that is likely to require extensive medical treatment or institutionalization” and does not have “non-subsidized health insurance”—in other words, they do not get their health insurance through their employer or pay for it out of pocket—they would be excluded.