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Wednesday September 18th, 2019 1:53PM

The Latest: Medical group says rules hamper health care

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's new rules for immigrants receiving public assistance (all times local):

1:55 p.m.

A major medical association says new guidelines that could be used to deny green cards to immigrants who use public assistance like Medicaid will have drastic consequences on health care.

Association of American Medical Colleges President David Skorton issued a statement Monday saying the rules change will discourage noncitizen immigrants from seeking needed medical care and services. That could exacerbate illnesses, worsen health disparities and lead to increased costs of care.

The association represents over 150 medical schools and almost 400 teaching hospitals nationwide.

Federal law already requires people seeking green cards to prove they won't be a burden, or what's called a "public charge." But the new rules outline a wider range of programs that could disqualify them. The rules were published Monday and take effect in October.

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12:10 p.m.

Immigrant rights groups are blasting the Trump administration's new rules that could deny green cards to immigrants if they use forms of public assistance like food stamps or Medicaid.

The Los Angeles-based National Immigration Law Center immediately vowed to file a lawsuit challenging the changes that take effect in October. In a Monday statement, the group calls the new rules an attempt to redefine the legal immigration system "in order to disenfranchise communities of color and favor the wealthy."

Advocates say the efforts will scare immigrants into not asking for help and worry the rules will be applied too broadly.

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles says the biggest toll will be on vulnerable populations with limited means. The group's executive director, Angelica Salas, calls the Trump administration's approach "cruel" and "unnecessary" with the clear objective of keeping "all "all immigrants out."

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11 a.m.

The Trump administration claims its effort to refocus the U.S. immigration system on merit is not a rejection of long-held American values.

The administration on Monday issued new rules that could deny green cards to immigrants who use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance.

Citizenship and Immigration Services acting Director Ken Cuccinelli (koo-chih-NEHL'-ee) says President Donald Trump's administration is not trying to wipe away the nation's longtime commitment to taking in immigrants in need.

Cuccinelli was pressed on the Emma Lazarus poem emblazoned below the beacon to immigrants, which reads: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Cuccinelli says he's "certainly not prepared to take anything down off the Statue of Liberty."

Immigration advocates worry the new rules will scare immigrants into not asking for help.

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8:45 a.m.

Trump administration rules that could deny green cards to immigrants if they use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance are going into effect.

Federal law already requires people seeking green cards to prove they will not be a burden, or what's called a "public charge." But the new rules detail a broad range of programs that could disqualify them.

The rules were made public on Monday and will take effect in October.

The rules are among President Donald Trump's most aggressive efforts to curb legal immigration, part of an overall attempt to restrict immigration and benefits in the U.S. They were met with much criticism when they were proposed last fall.

Homeland Security officials say they made a series of changes to the proposed rules following 266,000 public comments.

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