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Trump's New Public Charge Rule Has Chilling Effect On Some In Arizona

On Monday, the Trump administration’s new public charge rule took effect, and it’s already having a chilling effect in Arizona.

Some immigrants, including senior citizens, have dropped out of programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, because they’re afraid of being kicked out of the country.

Erika Mach is with the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers. She says many people are unaware of the exemptions to the new rule.

"So again, people who already have a residency or green card, or people applying for citizenship are exempt from the public charge test," she said. "And other exemptions include refugees, asylees, people under the Violence Against Women Act, and many others."

Critics say the new rules amount to a wealth test. Federal law already requires that those seeking permanent residency or legal status prove that they will not be a burden; but the new rules include a wider range of programs that could disqualify them.

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Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.