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Immigration Hypocrisy

Everyone has been focused on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, so of course the Republicans have taken this distraction as an opportunity to sneak in some things they wanted. Probably the most hypocritical example is a proposed new regulation that affects legal immigrants.

The new regulation will deny “green cards” (residency) to legal immigrants if they have received any kind of government assistance. The benefit programs that are targeted include food stamps, welfare, Medicaid, Medicare Part D (prescription drug subsidies), and housing assistance. So if any legal immigrant utilizes any of these programs, they will not be allowed to become permanent residents and will have to leave the US when their temporary visa expires.

For example, if someone from another country comes to the US on a student visa to attend a university, even if a company really wants to hire them they will have difficulty staying here if, even temporarily, they receive government assistance. For example, if they get in a serious accident and can’t afford our extremely expensive healthcare costs, they will have to choose between medical care and the possibility of becoming a resident in the future.

This will restrict children’s access to food and health care. In fact, it already has, as immigrants are already turning down government subsidies to help them buy staple foods and infant formula for fear that it will be used against them if they ever want to become a permanent legal resident.

Again, this will mainly target legal immigrants, because illegal immigrants are already barred from most federal benefits.

But the thing that is really insidious about this is that the new regulation allows permanent residency to be denied if the government anticipates that the the immigrant may utilize government benefits in the future. I can see where this will go, as Republicans deny residency for legal immigrants who are likely to vote against Republicans if they ever become US citizens. You know, the same way that they are making it harder for Democratic citizens to vote.

How hypocritical is this? Remember that Donald Trump is married to an illegal immigrant.


Also published on Medium.

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10 Comments

  1. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Well the link you provided to the proposed legislation is 447 pages of lawyer speak. I read the summary and have some basic understanding from my time while assigned to HSI as an analyst in a transregional counter narcotics TF.
    There are a literal boatload of VISA types. The types of visa’s affected were not specifically mentioned.
    B1, business and B2 visitor have always been no public assistance as the applicant needs to show they have no need prior to being granted the visa, ie. they have health insurance and can support themselves.
    Here’s my own personal example from my wife’s nephew who wanted to visit for the summer when he was 20. I completed an affidavit of support for him, but because he owned no property nor had nothing holding him to his place of origin, he was denied the visa. This was 2009 or 10.
    Student visa, or F1’s, became a huge problem during both the Bush and Obama years as our ability to track them sucked.
    Student visa applicants need to have support including insurance. Universities and colleges, as I found out 6 year ago when my oldest started college, require every student to have insurance or buy the schools plan. Now some schools likely provide financial aid and could include insurance coverage to foreign students. When they complete their studies they either return home or are sponsored and hired by company. So they don’t require public assistance unless they quit school, but don’t return home. At that time they lose their visa and status as a legal resident.
    Refugee and asylum visa’s already have assistance packages built in, so I don’t think that is the target of the legislation.
    There are many other types as well, from those seeking employment to various family members, etc.
    So, depending on what visa’s will be effected, may change perception. It’s been long overdue to fix student visa overstays so I’d support that. I would not support taking aid from asylum or refugee visa holders. There are also temporary humanitarian visa’s for things like natural disasters, and they are provided aid, but when the catastrophe is over and services in their country of origin have been restored they are supposed to return home.
    When people want to become citizens, they cannot have been receiving any public assistance. I know this process when my wife became naturalized, while Clinton was President. If she had received any assistance, she would have been denied.

    So from my point of view, unless the bill is targeting refugee and asylum visa’s, I’d say I have to support the legislation.

    Saturday, October 6, 2018 at 1:22 pm | Permalink
  2. Wildwood wrote:

    I’m wondering if that is just Federal assistance or if a city or state provided assistance would that count against them?

    Saturday, October 6, 2018 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    PSgt, you should read the Politico article I linked to. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/22/poor-immigrants-green-cards-trump-836456

    It goes into quite a bit of detail about who is affected. In particular, the new regulation does not apply to refugees and asylees. However, a week earlier the Trump administration drastically reduced the number of refugees allowed to immigrate.

    Saturday, October 6, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Permalink
  4. Hassan wrote:

    I will read the article above, based on personal experience from Student->H1->Green Card->Citizenship, every stage (except citizenship I think) I had to establish that I can take care of myself and family (forgot the form number). So I am not aware that even any such welfare services are available for non citizens.

    Perhaps a situation may arise if US citizen children of immigrant parent require welfare assistance?

    Saturday, October 6, 2018 at 8:11 pm | Permalink
  5. PatriotSGT wrote:

    IK, I read the Politico article but it never specified the type of Visa those who could be effected had.
    They did mention it could effect an estimated 382,000 immigrants which seems a low # si nice we have well over 1 million a year.

    The article did say this:

    In a departure from leaked drafts, the 447-page proposed rule won’t target immigrants who’ve received subsidized health insurance under the Affordable Care Act or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The rule also bypasses the earned income tax credit, a refundable tax break for low- to moderate-income families.

    And this:

    The proposal would count food stamps toward a public charge determination, but not receipt of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.

    The proposed regulation will be available for review and proposed changes, so perhaps it can be negotiated to both promote self sufficiency while protecting the vulnerable.

    Saturday, October 6, 2018 at 8:37 pm | Permalink
  6. Hassan wrote:

    @PATRIOTSGT, yes I could not find/understand much of article. I think all immigrant visas could be affected if they are using services that they are not supposed to use.

    As I said earlier, I did not even know as immigrant that I can use any of these services, because on each step government made sure that I have enough financial funds/support to be not burden on taxpayers. And this was in pre-Trump era (I became citizen in 2013). Not only that, I sponsored my father for green card, and all government agencies made sure with my tax returns and bank statements that once my father get green card, he will be taken care by me/himself without burdening tax payers. So this is all news to me.

    The only possibility I can see is if immigrants used these services for their US citizen children. But per article SNAP and WIC are not going to be held against parents.

    Sunday, October 7, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink
  7. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Agreed Hassan. I know from my wife’s experience that self sufficiency is the rule with the exception of refugees and asylum applicants. That’s why I was asking about the category of immigrant that was to be affected.

    Since the author of the article seemed to contradict the tone at the outset of the article it was likely an attempt at political sensationalism or used as click bait to get visits to the website.
    I’ll see what I can find from alternate sources to determine the authors intent.

    Sunday, October 7, 2018 at 6:44 pm | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    I would love to hear what you find out.

    Sunday, October 7, 2018 at 9:47 pm | Permalink
  9. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Well I did some searchin, but could find no similar reporting. I did find this legislation that was passed 22 years ago in 1996, and that leads me to believe this newer regulation or legislation is to update that previous law as many of our programs and definitions have changed.

    The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act broadens the definition of “aggravated felony“ and increases the number of crimes classified as such so immigrants could be deported for a wider range of crimes. The law is applied retroactively. The act also increased the number of Border Patrol agents and established an “expedited removal“ procedure to deport immigrants without a formal hearing.

    Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act sharply cuts legal permanent residents’ eligibility for many public-assistance benefits, including food stamps, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Medicaid.

    I’m going to do one more search to see if anything else shows up.

    Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at 4:21 pm | Permalink
  10. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I could not find any other current article about the proposed rule, lots of older articles that predate the Sept 20 announcement. Here is the official DHS press release.

    https://www.dhs.gov/news/2018/09/22/dhs-announces-new-proposed-immigration-rule-enforce-long-standing-law-promotes-self

    Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink