President Donald Trump doesn’t want immigrants to go on welfare programs during their first five years in the U.S. He is calling for a new policy that would prevent immigrants from using welfare for five years. He said that foreigners seeking permanent resident status in the U.S. must be able to financially support themselves.
According to the Center for Immigration Studies’ 2015 report, 51 percent of households with legal or undocumented immigrants have used at least one welfare program. Likewise, such households use food programs and Medicaid more often than households with U.S. citizens.
However, some of these changes that the President wants to make already exist. “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996,” backed by then-President Bill Clinton, says that immigrants who have not spent five years in the U.S. are ineligible for means-tested benefits. This act also allows law enforcement authorities to deport immigrants who become public charges within five years of obtaining legal resident status in the U.S. Many provisions of this Act were rolled back by the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations.
But under Trump’s administration, many of the federal benefits would more likely be made inaccessible to immigrants. Trump’s new proposal would prevent people who might likely become public charges in the U.S. within five years of their arrival, from coming to the U.S.
Public charges are those who are likely to seek public assistance and those who might not be able to support themselves financially in the U.S. The President is likely to introduce stricter rules regarding public charges. He will ask the U.S. Congress to pass a law preventing immigrants from receiving welfare for at least five years, citing the 2015 report from the Center for Immigration Studies.
The President might put a legislation into effect very soon. It is still unclear how the new legislation will change the current situation.