The White House late Friday issued a proclamation saying it would deny visas to immigrants who “will financially burden” the U.S. health-care system starting Nov. 3, demanding that foreign nationals prove that they have insurance or are affluent enough to cover their own health-care costs before entering the United States.
The new rule issued at 7 p.m. on a Friday, less than 13 months before Election Day comes as President Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry and intensifying his efforts to fulfill his campaign promises to curb immigration. Like many of Trump’s immigration policies, it is likely to face swift legal challenges in federal courts.
Trump said he is taking the action to “protect the availability of health care benefits for Americans,” and said “taxpayers bear substantial cost” in paying for medical expenses of people who lack health insurance.
“Immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our health care system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs,” Trump said in the proclamation.
Analysts said the proclamation appears to target family-based migration, the type of “chain migration” that the Trump administration and White House aide Stephen Miller, an immigration hawk, have been unable to persuade Congress to reduce. The White House has pushed for policies that would favor wealthier immigrants with special skills over immigrants from poorer countries, including in Latin America.
Trump’s proclamation comes as the administration is also preparing to implement a new “public charge” rule Oct. 15 that seeks to deny green cards and U.S. citizenship to poor immigrants.