Individuals without health insurance or the ability to pay for medical bills are set to be denied United States visas, President Trump’s administration announced on Friday.
A proclamation by President Trump said consular officers will only be allowed to issue visas to would-be immigrants who prove they "will not impose a substantial burden" on the US health care system once they become permanent residents.
Trump justified the move by claiming that legal immigrants are three times as likely as US citizens to lack health cover, making them a burden on hospitals and taxpayers.
"Lawful immigrants are about three times more likely than United States citizens to lack health insurance," Trump said in the proclamation.
"Immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our healthcare system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs."
The new measure will take effect on November 3rd, 2019.
“The United States government is making the problem worse by admitting thousands of aliens who have not demonstrated any ability to pay for their health care costs,” Trump wrote.
The measure primarily targets immigrants seeking to join their families in the US, a White House official who spoke under condition of anonymity told The New York Times.
Trump made cracking down on immigration a key part of his 2016 presidential campaign platform. Since assuming office, he has instituted wide-ranging immigration law reforms, while tasking authorities with conducting mass deportations of illegal foreigners.