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Applying for health care could affect permanent residency

A new proposal by the current administration could affect the immigration status of millions of legal immigrants in the US. The plan, which is currently in the drafting stage, may make obtaining a green card more difficult for those in Jacksonville, Florida, on immigration visa status.

The plan targets legal immigrants who use or attempt to use government-created health and nutrition benefits along with a number of other financial benefits. Current immigration visa holders who obtain or seek to obtain Medicaid, government-subsidized health insurance, WIC benefits and tax credits associated with health insurance could be passed over for permanent residency under the new policy. It will not affect undocumented immigrants or refugees.

The plan would make obtaining a green card, or permanent resident card, more difficult. The rule would also apply if a parent on a work visa attempted to obtain benefits for a child born in the US. Several million green card applications are filed annually. In the three-year period ending in 2016, more than 3 million cards were issued.

Many people in the health care industry, including medical providers, are unhappy with the proposed plan. There is a feeling that a visa holder will be forced to choose between health care and a pending or future application for permanent residency. In addition, this dilemma would apply to visa holders seeking health care for their children.

Though most of the people who are in the US on work visas are taxpayers, the Administration claims the plan is to prevent people from becoming a 'public charge." In this regard, the plan offers those affected the ability to post a $10,000 surety bond.

US immigration laws are complex and may become more so in the near future. What may seem to be lawful, innocent actions by a person on a visa may have a substantial effect on his or her ability to obtain permanent residency. Those who are unsure of their rights as a temporary immigrant should seek the advice of a qualified immigration attorney.

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