Did you know that according to one recent study, over $10 billion per year in federal government benefits go directly to illegal immigrants? Most Americans would call this cheating. It’s also illegal. So how does it continue to cost American taxpayers so much? Amazingly, there is no requirement that federal benefit programs (like food stamps or Medicaid) confirm an individual’s immigration status before giving out benefits. Recently, I introduced a bill to fix this problem called the VERIFI Act.
It’s a pretty simple idea: before giving an individual a government benefit check, a federal agency or department must make sure they are a U.S. citizen or are in this country legally. It’s already illegal for them to receive these benefits; it’s just the government does not check. President Obama could actually implement this common sense requirement. Instead, the President is implementing liberal immigration policies by fiat.
Knowing that the Obama Administration is unlikely to take this logical step, I introduced H.R. 6000, the Validating Entitlement Recipients through Indicated Federal Immigration Status Act or the VERIFI Act. The Department of Homeland Security has an existing system called the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program which states, localities and federal agencies can already use to check the immigration status of beneficiaries. Unfortunately, there is no requirement that federal agencies do so. My bill merely requires that federal agencies use the existing SAVE program to verify the citizenship of beneficiaries before giving them benefits.
Our federal benefit programs are already breaking our budget. We must make reforms to these entitlement programs to ensure that the programs are still there for our children and grandchildren. However, we should also take the common sense step of requiring an immigration status check of all federal beneficiaries. My bill could lead to billions in savings for American taxpayers. I hope to see strong support for this bill and will work to move it forward quickly.