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Trump: Immigrants Should Have To Wait 5 Years To Use Welfare

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President Donald Trump said Wednesday that immigrants should be barred from using welfare programs for at least five years after arriving in the U.S.

Speaking to supporters at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Trump called on Congress to pass legislation that would prevent new immigrants from accessing welfare programs, which he said should be reserved for Americans who “truly need help.”

“I believe the time has come for new immigration rules which say that those seeking admission into our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years,” Trump said. “And we’ll be putting in legislation to that effect very shortly.”

The president’s proposal builds on a 1996 law that allows federal authorities to deport immigrants who become dependent on public assistance within five years of their arrival. That measure, signed by former President Bill Clinton, also prevents most categories of legal immigrants from accessing federal welfare programs, including government health insurance, cash assistance and subsidies for home energy costs, reports Bloomberg.

However, several categories of immigrants are exempted from the rules — most notably green card holders, refugees and asylum recipients — and restrictions were further loosened during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations.

Trump’s proposal would make more categories of federal benefits off-limits to immigrants, reports Fox News. While current U.S. immigration law ostensibly prevents the government from admitting anyone who is likely to become a “public charge” within five years, the administration is expected to propose tightening those rules and making sure they are strictly enforced.

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a nonprofit research organization that favors lower levels of immigration, issued a report in 2015 that revealed 51 percent of immigrant households used at least one welfare program during the year, compared to 30 percent of native households. The study included all federal welfare programs, including Medicaid and cash, food, and housing programs.

The White House is expected to cite the CIS report when it requests changes to welfare rules, reports Fox News.

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  • jubadoobai

    This was the law back in the day. Immigrants were required to show a bank statement, a job letter, a lease, and all that good stuff, and were required not to be a drain on the public coffers.