Should Immigrants Take Care of Themselves?

A DHS proposal would more closely tie immigration to financial self-sufficiency.

Lewis Morris · Sep. 26, 2018

The Department of Homeland Security posted a proposal on its website last weekend that would more closely tie immigration to financial self-sufficiency. The corollary is that it would become more difficult for immigrants who rely heavily on government assistance to stay in the country. The proposed rule is in line with President Donald Trump’s promise to change the current immigration system to one that is merit-based and focused on job skills.

DHS will allow a 60-day public comment period on the proposal before publishing its final rule in the Federal Register.

“Under long-standing federal law, those seeking to immigrate to the United States must show they can support themselves financially,” DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement. She added that the proposed changes would “promote immigrant self-sufficiency and protect finite resources by ensuring that they are not likely to become burdens on American taxpayers.”

Current rules require green-card applicants to prove that they would not become a public burden, but the proposed changes would expand the number of assistance programs that could disqualify applicants — Medicaid subsidies, food stamps, or housing vouchers. Certain groups of refugees, asylum seekers, and legal permanent residents seeking citizenship would be exempt from the rules.

The Washington Post did its best to demonize the move, apparently proceeding from the assumption that the U.S. does not have a right to curtail immigration or ask more of the immigrants allowed into the country.

The Post quoted Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, who presented a straw-man argument in opposition to the proposed ruling: “This would force families — including citizen children — to choose between getting the help they need and remaining in their communities.”

What the ruling does is send a signal that immigrants cannot come to America with no prospects and expect to gain access to public assistance as a means of supporting their families. And, yes, the 600,000 or so DACA kids who are looking to file for permanent residency could be affected by the proposed rules. But if Congress had taken up Trump’s proposal to permanently fix the Dreamers’ status earlier this year, this wouldn’t be an issue.

The Post also hastens to add, “Advocacy groups see the measure as one more attempt by the Trump administration to limit legal immigration and reduce the number of foreigners living in the United States.” Well, yeah. Last we checked, it is a sovereign nation’s right to limit the number or type of foreign-born peoples it allows within its borders. And the foreign-born population in the U.S. is currently at its highest levels in over a century.

Leftists are quick to label any strengthening or enforcement of immigration laws as racism or xenophobia. They just don’t want to be cut off from a fresh source of potential voters who they can string out on government subsidies. The Post, flagship outlet of the Leftmedia, pointed out that foreign-born people use government assistance at roughly the same percentage as native-born Americans, as if this fact is supposed to make the new DHS proposal appear ineffective or redundant. The Post conveniently leaves out the burden placed on taxpayers by people who are here illegally.

The cost of illegal immigration on the country has been vastly underestimated. Not just the financial cost, either. For well over a decade, the media and many agencies have consistently reported the illegal-alien population at around 11 million. A new study by three researchers at Yale, however, found that there may be more than 22 million illegals in the U.S.

The researchers were not motivated by politics in conducting the study — at least not conservative politics. They just wanted to figure out why the commonly reported number of 11 million didn’t make sense.

“There’s a number that everybody quotes, but when you actually dig down and say, ‘What is it based on?’ you find it’s based on one very specific survey and possibly an approach that has some difficulties. So we went in and just took a very different approach,” said Jonathan Feinstein, a professor of Economics and Management and one of the authors of the study.

This is information the Left doesn’t want getting out. If Americans learn that there are literally twice as many illegal aliens in the country than they have been told, then they will more broadly support the border wall, stricter border enforcement, and the DHS rule proposal.

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