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A Smarter Plan for Immigrant Welfare

October 11, 2018 in Economics

By David Bier, Alex Nowrasteh

David Bier and Alex Nowrasteh

The Trump administration recently unveiled a plan to prevent
immigrants who the government predicts might be unable to support
themselves financially from entering the country. But the proposal
relies too much on guesswork. A bill introduced by Wisconsin
Republican Glenn Grothman, which would allow immigrants into the
country without giving them access to the welfare system, is a
preferable alternative.

The Department of Homeland Security’s proposed
regulation— the “public charge”
rule
—poses a major problem for legal immigrants. It would
bar them from entry if a bureaucrat predicts that they
might use some welfare here. But because the
law makes them eligible for it, legal immigrants could always
potentially use welfare at some point, even if they never
have and never would. It may be difficult for many to convince the
government otherwise.

If the administration’s goal is truly to prevent overuse
of welfare benefits, however, Grothman’s bill provides a
better strategy to support immigrant self-sufficiency and protect
taxpayers. It bans access to all means-tested welfare and
entitlement programs for immigrants until they become citizens.
That means verified U.S. citizens could access federal welfare
benefits like food stamps, Medicaid, and Medicare, but no
noncitizens would be able to.

A bill introduced by
Wisconsin Republican Glenn Grothman would allow immigrants into the
country without giving them access to the welfare
system.

According to our estimates using data based on noncitizen use of
welfare and entitlements in the Census Bureau’s
Survey of Income and Program Participation
, Grothman’s bill
could save U.S. taxpayers about $60 billion in the first year that
it takes effect (it provides a two-year grace period). Most rigorousestimates show that immigrants already pay more
than enough in taxes to cover the cost of their benefits, but
Grothman’s bill would end any debate over the fiscal impact of
immigration by making it unambiguously positive.

Under Rep. Grothman’s bill, legal immigrants could
continue to come to the United States to live and work as they do
now. The only difference is that they will be totally barred from
all welfare benefits and entitlement programs. Rather than building
a virtual wall around the country to keep out legal
immigrants—like the public charge rule would
do—Grothman’s bill builds a virtual wall around the welfare state.

His bill would expand a 1996 law that restricted federal welfare to
only noncitizens who were eligible to become U.S. citizens after
living here as a legal permanent resident for five years. The
Grothman bill would take the next logical step by limiting all
benefits only to those who actually go through …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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