If you don’t feel that illegal aliens ought to be getting your tax dollars in the form of welfare checks, well, the White House is certainly coming through for you.
And the left, predictably, is having a fit over this.
A new report from liberal-leaning political website Politico reported that immigrants, both legal and illegal, are opting out of welfare programs because they fear a government crackdown.
“Immigrants are turning down government help to buy infant formula and healthy food for their young children because they’re afraid the Trump administration could bar them from getting a green card if they take federal aid,” the report from Helena Bottemiller Evich read.
“Local health providers say they’ve received panicked phone calls from both documented and undocumented immigrant families demanding to be dropped from the rolls of WIC, a federal nutrition program aimed at pregnant women and children, after news reports that the White House is potentially planning to deny legal status to immigrants who’ve used public benefits,” she wrote.
“Agencies in at least 18 states say they’ve seen drops of up to 20 percent in enrollment, and they attribute the change largely to fears about the immigration policy.”
Now, there are several interesting things to note here. The first is that these reports involve the White House “potentially planning to deny legal status to immigrants who’ve used public benefits.” Here’s what you don’t hear anywhere in here: Legal status is usually given, under immigration law, to individuals or families who can prove self-sufficiency.
In a statement to NBC News in early August, a Trump official said the administration is fulfilling the spirit of that tradition.
“The administration is committed to enforcing existing immigration law, which is clearly intended to protect the American taxpayer by ensuring that foreign nationals seeking to enter or remain in the U.S are self-sufficient,” a spokeswoman with the Department of Homeland Security told the network.
“Any proposed changes would ensure that the government takes the responsibility of being good stewards of taxpayer funds seriously and adjudicates immigration benefit requests in accordance with the law.”
It’s worth noting that the proposed plan is fairly restrictive and includes programs like Obamacare subsidies and could affect families legally here earning 250 percent over the poverty level. That sounds like it would be a difficult sell to many, even Republicans.
Finally, the proposal’s main impact is on legal immigrants and foreigners in the U.S. who are seeking a green card or applying for permanent residency. However, it also affects illegal aliens, Politico reported, “if they want to seek legal permanent residency in the future”
The details are not really the issue here, however. The real issue is that the Trump administration is turning a close eye toward what past administrations have mostly looked away from.
Even the Politico report admitted that, though it couched in a way to try to make the “immigration hawks” in the White House look bad.
“Under a provision known as public charge, U.S. immigration law has for more than a century allowed officials to reject admission to the country on the grounds that potential immigrants or visitors might become overly reliant on the government,” Politico reported.
“But until now, officials have looked narrowly at whether someone would need cash benefits such as welfare or long-term institutional care. Immigration hawks in the Trump administration are pushing to consider would-be immigrants’ use of a much broader array of services, including non-cash assistance like food stamps, Head Start, Medicaid and WIC, according to versions of the proposed rule that were obtained by news organizations earlier this year.
“Undocumented immigrants do not qualify for most government aid programs, but such an expansion of public charge could apply to the whole family. In the past, if a mom was applying for a green card her own use of public benefits might be examined. Under the proposed change, her child’s enrollment in Medicaid or Head Start would weighed as a negative factor, even if that child is a U.S. citizen.”
That last point is important in the context of the WIC program, since it benefits pregnant women and babies, and babies born in the United States are, of course, American citizens.
The assumption in the Politico report, of course, is all of this is necessarily a bad thing. WIC participation, for instance, has been going down. “When Trump took office there were approximately 7.4 million women and children in the program,” Politico notes. “As of May, the last month for which there is data, the number had dropped to 6.8 million.”
While some of this was likely due to multifarious factors including the improving economy, “anecdotal evidence” seems to indicate that the possible immigration restrictions may have had something to do with it.
Politico seems to lament this. Keep in mind, however, that the Trump administration seems to be pushing this to be implemented before the midterms.
That should tell you a great deal about where Trump and his circle think the American voters actually want their tax dollars to go.
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