Welfare-Dependent Aliens to be Barred
IRLI defends Administration proposal to toughen public charge regs
WASHINGTON – On December 10, 2018, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) submitted a comprehensive analysis to the Department of Homeland Security, detailing cost-effective but humane changes the government should make to its historic new “public charge” regulations. The new regulations would greatly help the government bar aliens likely to be dependent on public assistance from admission to the country, and deport such aliens who are already here.
The new regulations are of great interest to the public – and also to many activist groups that seek to maintain the current, high dependence by aliens on public assistance. Indeed, by the time the public comment period for the “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” rulemaking notice closed, over 210,000 comments had been filed. Ninety-eight percent of the comments submitted appear to be little more than short, scripted re-tweets expressing crude disdain for the current President or citizen taxpayers, orchestrated by anti-borders pressure groups that often rely on federal funding and programs for support.
In contrast, the IRLI analysis – largely supportive of the proposed rule – is a careful examination of how the regulations would function in practice, and features legal and policy reviews in seventeen distinct areas. The IRLI analysis even shows how the proposed rule could be strengthened, resulting in a savings of several billion additional taxpayer dollars over ten years.
In its analysis, IRLI also takes issue with the legal revisionism pushed by anti-borders groups. Most comments by interest groups simply repeat the unfounded claim that a 1999 attempt by out-going Clinton administration officials to waive one of the oldest immigration restrictions in American law is the “traditional” approach to immigrant financial responsibility and self-sufficiency. On the contrary, IRLI’s review of American law shows that, without exception, every time since the Civil War that Congress has acted on the question of immigrant access to welfare and economic subsidies, it has barred or deported from the country aliens who do not support themselves before they are naturalized. In prior waves of mass migration to America, millions of indigent paupers were routinely denied visas, deported upon arrival, or processed for voluntary departure as failed migrants. And the inadmissibility and deportability of aliens who are, or are likely to become, public charges is still very much the current law, to which administrative regulations must conform. “It is essential that the proposed regulations constitute a scheme that is fully-grounded in plain statutory language, legislative history, and historic regulatory practice,” the IRLI comment points out.
“A fair, sustainable immigration policy based on individual merit and family responsibility will reward the self-sufficient immigrant who adds to our national prosperity, and screen out economic undesirables who divert scarce public resources from needy citizens,” said Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI's executive director and general counsel. “It is frustrating that our laws implementing these timeless principles have been frequently subverted and mocked over the past generation by interest group-influenced executive agencies. We commend the foresight and integrity of the Administration in developing these important regulations, and hope that our recommendations for additional administrative reforms will be factored into the final rule.”
The proposed rule is “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds,” No. USCIS-2010-0012 (DHS).
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