Back in February, Reuters reported that the Department of Homeland Security was considering barring immigrants who had received any kind of public benefits—including sending their kids to government-funded preschools—from receiving permanent residency status. On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that it had obtained a document outlining that proposal in detail—and it’s even worse than we previously thought.
Under the proposal, even certain tax credits would be considered public benefits. The earned income tax credit, which benefits low-to-middle income parents and is used by almost 20 percent of Americans, would be included. Chillingly, the Post reports that having children at all would be “considered a negative factor for caseworkers evaluating whether an immigrant is likely to use some form of public assistance or benefit” under these new rules. That’s your Family Values Administration at work.
The rules would also establish “public charge bonds” for immigrants who are deemed likely to use welfare, with the amount at the discretion of the case officer but no less than $10,000.
There would be exceptions for benefits from serving in the armed forces, Medicare (but not Medicaid), and disability benefits.
“The administration is committed to enforcing existing immigration law, which is clearly intended to protect the American taxpayer by ensuring that foreign nationals seeking to enter or remain in the U.S. are self-sufficient,” DHS spokeswoman Katie Waldman told the Post.
It’s already much harder for immigrants to access public benefits. Immigrants don’t qualify for welfare for the first five years after they move to the U.S., with some exceptions, and undocumented immigrants don’t qualify for almost all forms of welfare.
The final proposal should be published later this year. Can’t wait!