Being Charitable with the Neighbor’s Money

by Lou Binninger


          Most wonder why foreigners coming here legally or illegally can order from the public benefits menu for US citizens. It was not always this way. Furthermore, people question why politicians of either party do not correct the egregious giveaway of taxpayer dollars.


            Sadly, whether immigration, welfare, or abortion funding reform, there has been no difference between the two parties until ‘the businessman’ ran for president. The Trump-term for this political morass is ‘the swamp.’

            Some may not understand that there were immigration regulations passed by Congress that were not being enforced. The Trump administration is changing this.


            The administration is implementing federal regulations geared toward stopping welfare-dependent legal immigrants from permanently settling in the United States.


            After the U.S. Supreme Court approved the regulation, the Trump administration is applying the “Public Charge” rule — whereby legal immigrants are less likely to secure a permanent residency in the U.S. if they have used any form of welfare in the past, including cash benefits for income maintenance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (welfare), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)– otherwise known as food stamps, Medicaid, and certain taxpayer-funded housing programs.


            The “rule” will favor granting citizenship to younger, self-sufficient, healthier, and English-speaking legal immigrants over those who have used at least one form of public welfare for more than 12 months within any 36-month period.


            In the past, 56 percent of Hispanic citizens here said they supported favoring self-sufficient legal immigrants for green cards over welfare-dependent legal immigrants, as well as about 6-in-10 of all American voters and 62 percent of all swing voters.


            Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said that the “Public Charge” rule is a continuation of “longstanding law” dating back to the 1800s. Most recently in 1996, a rule demanding legal immigrants be self-sufficient was codified into federal statute but has hardly ever been enforced.


Cuccinelli said, “This rule enforces longstanding law requiring aliens to be self-sufficient, reaffirming the American ideals of hard work, perseverance, and determination. It also offers clarity and expectations to aliens considering a life in the United States and will help protect our public benefits programs.”


“The rule’s” restrictions do not apply to foreigners arriving here as refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, and violent crime.


Big business and corporate lobbyists denounce “the rule” wanting instead to provide taxpayer handouts to new arrivals, legal or illegal, in order to create more consumers and attract cheap laborer.


“The rule’s” enforcement will create a windfall for taxpayers in the form of an annual $57.4 billion tax cut — the amount taxpayers spend every year for the welfare, crime, and schooling costs of the country’s 1.2 million new, mostly low-skilled legal arrivals.


In 2017, the National Academies of Science found that immigrant households consume 33 percent more cash welfare than American citizen households. Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) explains that about 63 percent of noncitizen households in the U.S. use at least one form of public welfare, while only about 35 percent of native-born American households are on welfare. This means that noncitizen households use about twice as much welfare as native-born American households.


In California — with the largest noncitizen population in the country, almost 11 million or nearly 30 percent of the state’s total population — more than seven-in-ten, or 72 percent of noncitizen households are on at least one form of welfare. Only about seven-in-twenty or 35 percent of native-born households in California are on welfare.

Currently, there are an estimated 44.5 million foreign-born residents living in the U.S. This is nearly quadruple the immigrant population in 2000. The vast majority of those arriving in the country every year are low-skilled legal immigrants who compete against working and middle-class Americans for jobs.


When unlimited public benefits await those from other countries as a reward for arriving here, it is akin to winning the lottery upon landing. Those noncitizens convicted of crimes, after serving their time here, often fight their deportation, remaining in immigration detention centers like the Yuba County jail for years hoping to win their cases. They can voluntarily return to their nation of origin at US taxpayers expense at any time in their appeal process.


Hopefully, enforcing the “Public Charge” rule will be a step toward sanity in immigration regulations.