(CNN) - White House adviser Stephen Miller is pushing to expedite a policy that could penalize legal immigrants whose families receive public benefits.
The policy could also make it more difficult to get citizenship, according to three CNN sources familiar with the matter.
The proposal would penalize legal immigrants if they or their family members have used government benefits, as defined widely in previous drafts of the policy.
That includes anything ranging from using health care subsidies provided for by the Affordable Care Act, possibly the use of Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and food stamps.
It could even include claiming the earned income tax credit, which the IRS reported was used by 27 million eligible workers and families in 2017.
The White House has been reviewing the proposal since March at the Office of Management and Budget, which is the last stop for regulations before they are final.
But concerns over potential lawsuits have delayed the final rule.
Miller has been a vocal proponent in the White House of both cracking down on illegal immigration, pushing policies such as the much-criticized family separations that were ultimately abandoned, and stiffly tightening legal immigration.
Green card approvals for lawful permanent residents have declined by 20 percent in the first quarter of the 2018 fiscal year, NBC News reported.
A spokesman for the agency that grants green cards and naturalizes citizens, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, told the outlet that agency “has not changed the manner in which applications for naturalization have been adjudicated.”
The spokesman, Michael Bars, criticized “open border advocates, immigration attorneys and activists” and said, “We reject the false and inaccurate claims of those who would rather the U.S. turn a blind eye to cases of illegal immigration, fraud, human trafficking, gang activity and drug proliferation at the expense of public safety, the integrity of our laws and their faithful execution.”
The White House and Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a request for comment.
Copyright 2018 CNN. All rights reserved.