The Corner

Immigration

Trump Administration Limits Welfare Use by Immigrants

It’s final: The Trump administration just released its “public charge” rule.

Federal law gives the executive branch a lot of discretion to reject immigrants who are “likely at any time to become a public charge,” the idea of course being that immigrants should support themselves or leave, and not burden taxpayers. Previous administrations, though, entirely ignored major (and growing) programs such as food stamps, Medicaid, and housing assistance when deciding whether someone qualified. That is, immigrants could use these programs without reducing their future chance of getting visas or green cards.

The new rules include these programs. With various exceptions, they apply to “an alien who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period (such that, for instance, receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months).”

A side effect of the rule, by the way, has been that the entire Left has abandoned the talking point that immigrants don’t use welfare. There was even a big report in June of last year from the pro-immigration Migration Policy Institute about how 47 percent of immigrants used benefits the new rule might apply to.

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