Acting Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli, speaks during a briefing at the White House, Aug. 12, 2019, in Washington.

The Trump administration is moving forward with a rule that could drastically curb legal immigration by limiting who is allowed to enter and stay in the United States based on that person's need for various public benefits.

The “public charge” rule is part of the Trump administration's broader push to favor skilled applicants and those who are less likely to rely on public assistance. The government estimates some 380,000 applicants would be immediately subject to review under the new guidance after they are finalized in October.

Critics vowed to challenge the regulation in court, charging that it unfairly penalizes low-income immigrants — particularly those of color — and warned it would stoke fear in immigrant communities.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra called the rule “vile” and an “attack on families and lower income communities of color.”

“It will harm our communities, schools, and workplaces by weaponizing essential healthcare, housing, and nutrition programs,” he said in a tweet. Becerra also said he is “ready to take legal action to protect the rights of all Californians.”

This vile #PublicCharge rule is the Trump Administration’s latest attack on families and lower income communities of color.

It will harm our communities, schools, and workplaces by weaponizing essential healthcare, housing, and nutrition programs.— Xavier Becerra (@AGBecerra) August 12, 2019

Bob Greenstein, president of the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said the rule “essentially puts a price tag on obtaining lawful permanent residency in the United States, shifting it away from family-based immigration toward one restricted to people who are already relatively well-off or highly skilled when they enter the country.”

“In doing so, it ignores our nation's centuries-long experience — one still true today — of immigrants coming to our shores, building a better life for themselves and future generations, and contributing to our economy,” he said.

Question: “Is that sentiment, give us ‘your tired, your poor' still operative in the United States ... or should the plaque come down from the Statue of Liberty?”

Ken Cuccinelli: “I'm certainly not prepared to take anything down off the Statue of Liberty”— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 12, 2019

President Donald Trump has long tried to curb both legal and illegal immigration and used racially charged language to make his case, frequently referring to border crossings as an “invasion.” In announcing his bid for presidency, Trump said people from Mexico crossing into the U.S. were “bringing crime” and were “rapists.” Last year, he questioned in a private meeting with lawmakers why the U.S. was accepting immigrants from Haiti and Africa rather than places like Norway. In May, he proposed a plan to move toward a merit-based immigration system, moving the U.S. away from favoring family connections. Continue reading

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