Friday, August 16, 2019

The Trump Administration Proposes Modest Enforcement of 1996 Public Charge Laws Democrats Supported

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If there are 7.8 billion people in the world and we can choose from would-be immigrants, shouldn’t we only choose those who will not be on welfare? That was the goal of the 1996 welfare reform and immigration bills, backed by hundreds of years of ironclad principle, yet in recent years, it has not been enforced. Today, the Trump administration took some modest steps toward finally enforcing it.
Last year, when the administration first pitched the enforcement of a public charge rule, I noted how this rule had been enforced since our colonial times. Our current laws address the public charge concept in three different ways:
  • Under Section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), an individual seeking admission to the United States or seeking to adjust his status to permanent resident (obtaining a green card) is inadmissible if the individual “at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge.” 
  •  Section 237(a)(5) states that “any alien who, within five years after the date of entry, has become a public charge from causes not affirmatively shown to have arisen since entry is deportable.” 
  •  Section 213(a) empowers the attorney general to require sponsors to sign an affidavit agreeing “to maintain the sponsored alien at an annual income that is not less than 125 percent of the Federal poverty line.”
Among the factors that are to be assessed when making this determination are “assets, resources, and financial status; and education and skill.”
In addition, section 403 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 (PRWOA), the famous welfare reform bill, bars legal immigrants from accessing welfare for five years. Joe Biden, the leading Democrat presidential candidate, voted for that bill.
Yet even though that law recognized that we hadn’t been enforcing our “basic principle of United States immigration law since this country’s earliest immigration statutes” that immigrants should not be a public charge, we still have not been enforcing it over the past two decades. Applications for admission or adjustment of status are almost never turned down on public charge grounds, sponsors are never made to pay the bond for public charge, and nobody is deported for becoming a public charge.
Read the rest from Daniel Horowitz HERE.

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