President Trump is drawing on Clinton-era legislation to further his own crackdown on immigration.
President Donald Trump has signed a memorandum that’d make the sponsors of legal immigrants liable for the cost of any social services or welfare benefits the migrant uses while residing in the United States.
Trump’s Thursday directive reinforces and reiterates a longstanding provision. According to Fox News, the president’s memorandum references parts of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) and Welfare Reform laws signed by Bill Clinton.
However, enforcement of the IIRIRA and accompanying legislation have been lax—something the president is hoping to change.
Under Trump’s order, anyone seeking to sponsor an immigrant—legal or not—would have to sign an affidavit. The document would detail not only the financial responsibilities of individual migrants but would create a collection mechanism to withdraw funds from sponsors.
Sponsors could be held financially liable for the use of many public benefit programs, ranging from Medicaid to food stamps.
The Department of Health and Human Services will be responsible for gathering the data of incoming immigrants as well as their sponsors but reimbursement will be handled by the Department of Treasury.
RealClearPolitics.com notes that the reaffirming the IIRIRA is supposed to bolster self-sufficiency among migrants.
“This is a historic, transformative action tor restore the foundational principle of U.S. immigration law: that those seeking to join our society must support themselves financially,” a senior Trump administration official told RealClearPolitics.com. “Furthermore, those who, for whatever reason, cannot support themselves financially, must turn to their sponsor—not the federal government.”
Since taking office, President Trump has made an immigration a central focus of and for his administration. Trump has floated numerous plans intended to curb welfare use among legal immigrants, even though most migrants aren’t eligible for federal benefits to begin with.
Nonetheless, the White House has pointed to high rates of access for certain programs as evidence of widespread welfare abuse by immigrants.
“Rampant welfare abuse by non-citizens is straining the social safety net and jeopardizing benefits needed most by vulnerable Americans,” the White House said Thursday.
In line with promoting self-sufficiency, Trump is also proposing an ‘overhaul’ of modern immigration law. Among its core objectives is reducing the number of migrants who enter the United States on account of family connections and relations.
If Trump has his way, more visas will be granted to skilled workers, who’ll be judged on their level of education and English-language proficiency.
“Our plan will transform America’s immigration system into the pride of our nation and the envy of the modern world,” Trump said from the Rose Garden on Thursday.
However, it’s unlikely that President Trump’s ‘overhaul’ will become a political reality with Democrats in control of the House.