Unsurprisingly, the stridently pro-illegal-alien Los Angeles Times is criticizing the Trump administration’s proposed new public charge rule. But the Times mischaracterizes the proposed rule, stating that government officials would now have, “broad power to reject people whom they believe might someday in the future tap government programs for financial support.”
In reality, immigration officers already have the authority to reject any aliens who appear to be unable to support themselves or their dependents. And they have, since the birth of the Republic. The first public charge laws were enacted by the Massachusetts legislature when the Bay State was still a colony. And the first comprehensive federal immigration law—enacted by Congress on August 3, 1882— included a bar against the admission of “any person unable to take care of himself or herself without becoming a public charge.” In fact, until the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, most admissibility determinations based on an alien’s ability to earn a living in the United States.
The Trump administration’s rule would simply clarify longstanding law, which already allows:
- S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to deny immigration benefits to individuals who rely upon taxpayer-funded benefits for basic survival.
- S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport those who are unable to support themselves.
- S. Customs and Border Protection to refuse admission to anyone who is likely to become destitute and require government assistance.
But according to the Times, “These are unnecessarily strict and hard-hearted rules aimed at solving a problem that social scientists say doesn’t exist.” The newspaper maintains that, “Clinton-era welfare reforms already put major social service programs out of reach for most legal immigrants until they’ve been here for five years; undocumented immigrants are barred from nearly all public support.”
Of course, that’s a wildly inaccurate claim. While the Clinton administration allegedly pushed “draconian” welfare reforms, it also administratively redefined “public charge” in order to ensure that most lawful immigrants using public benefits would not be considered dependent on taxpayer funded benefits. In turn, the Obama administration further broadened the Clinton-era guidelines, making even more benefits available to foreigners who never paid into our social safety net. And these actions imposed a heavy financial burden American taxpayers still shoulder to this day.
In fact, according to a study conducted by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), over half of all immigrant-led households currently use at least one welfare program. Meanwhile, only 30 percent of native-headed households use at least one welfare program.
And those figures don’t represent short-term usage of a program just to get through tough times, as the LA Times and other alien-advocates would have you believe. The same CIS study found that, after 20 years in the United States, 48 percent of households headed by immigrants still continue to access at least one welfare program.
According to data from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) 7.5 million immigrants will be enrolled in Medicaid by 2030 – provided that immigration rates remain stable, rather than rising. Given the already weak state of the Medicaid program, that would appear to be an unsupportable burden.
Rather than “hard-hearted rules aimed at solving a problem that social scientists say doesn’t exist,” the Trump administration’s efforts would seem to be a common sense effort reduce the burden imposed on taxpayers by unchecked mass migration. But common sense seems to be in very short supply at the LA Times.