Local experts say the latest changes to federal immigration laws would have damaging ripple effects on Michigan’s immigrant families. Under the new rule, legal immigrants who are applying for green card status would be denied if they’ve used federal assistance programs, like Medicaid or SNAP. At the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, attorney Tania Morris Diaz says it’s important for families to understand what the changes could mean, and seek counseling or legal help if needed.

“It’s important for people to know that this rule hasn’t taken effect yet. It won’t until October 15th. That if they fear how accessing public benefits will affect them, they should reach out make sure that they are affected by this rule.”

Diaz says she expects lawsuits filed against the measure could potentially delay its implementation. Last year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services granted green cards to more than 600,000 residents.