Trump plan could break up nearly 200,000 married couples

Another wave of family separations is looming if the Trump administration has its way. This time, hundreds of thousands of marriages could be torn apart.

The Department of Homeland Security recently announced a plan to radically reshape the legal immigration system by expanding its ability to deny permanent residence (commonly known as a “green card”) to anyone suspected of using taxpayer-funded safety net programs.

Economically, this whole approach is nonsensical. Immigrants pay much more in taxes than they receive in public benefits.

But one of the most egregious consequences of this “public charge rule” is deeply personal: Each year it will force nearly 200,000 married couples to either leave the United States or spend their lives apart.

This isn’t hypothetical, nor is it limited to people who actually use public welfare programs. The administration will begin denying green cards to anyone it judges “likely” to use public benefits at any point in the future, shutting the door on hundreds of thousands of legal immigrants who will never touch a safety net in their lives. I’m president of a company, Boundless Immigration, which helps thousands of married couples obtain green cards each year. Our new analysis based on customer data shows the denial policy would effectively shut out more than half of the 400,000 people who receivemarriage green cards each year as spouses of either U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

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