Donald Trump Revives ‘No Welfare’ Rule in Green Cards Process

Undocumented immigrant Oscar Rodriguez (R), originally from Mexico, watches with Yenny Quispe (C), who is from Peru and received her Green Card two days ago, during a watch party of President Barack Obama's speech on immigration on January 29, 2013 in New York City. Obama called for immigration reform and …
Mario Tama/Getty Images

President Donald Trump is shaking up the nation’s green card process by warning legal immigrants and citizens not to recklessly “sponsor” foreigners who cannot pay their way in the United States.

The warning reflects the White House’s emphasis on curbing the award of green cards and citizenship to unskilled and poor migrants who will burden Americans by consuming more government aid and welfare than they produce in taxes.

Under prior presidents, including Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, migrants in the United States have been allowed to freely apply for green cards via the “Adjustment of Status” process.

This “AoS” process is a continuous, unrecognized amnesty because it gives green cards to roughly 550,000 people each year, including many illegals and people who overstay their legal visas. Illegals also use the AoS process to get temporary work permits. In 2018, for example, 257,376 work permits were handed out to a variety of people who applied for AoS.

One of the few curbs on the AoS amnesty is a requirement that applicants find a sponsor who will repay the taxpayers for any aid and welfare consumed by the AoS applicant. This curb, however, is unused because officials rarely require the sponsors to repay taxpayers when the would-be immigrants do not earn enough wages to stay off welfare.

But officials will now enforce the sponsorship rule, says Ken Cuccinelli, the new head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. On June 14, he issued a warning statement on Twitter (emphasis added):

On May 23, 2019, the President issued a Presidential Memorandum on Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens.

Officers will now be required to remind individuals at their adjustment of status interviews of their sponsors’ responsibilities under existing law and regulations. Our officers must remind applicants and sponsors that the Affidavit of Support is a legal and enforceable contract between the sponsor and the federal government. The sponsor must be willing and able to financially support the intending immigrant as outlined by law and regulations (see INA 213A and 8 CFR 213a). If the sponsored immigrant receives any federal means-tested public benefits, the sponsor will be expected to reimburse the benefits-granting agency for every dollar of benefits received by the immigrant.

Over the next several months, federal agencies will develop and implement guidance on the presidential memorandum to make sure that agencies enforce these requirements.

The policy may deter immigrants and citizens from sponsoring unskilled migrants, thus reducing the scale and cost of low-skilled immigration that is imposed on Americans, said Jessica Vaughan, policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies. “A normal person will think twice and say ‘Whoa, I don’t think I want to take on that [financial sponsorship] responsibility,'” she said.

“This is a really good change. … It is about making people qualify [for green cards] based on their likelihood of being self-supporting, and [about] not approving people who will go to the nearest welfare office,” she told Breitbart New Tonight on June 14.

The sponsor agreements have been “a joke” for many years, she said. Promises from families and or from a “very good friend” have been accepted by USCIS officials, she stated. But the “law has been on the books since the 1980s,” she said, adding, and “now we’re going to hold you to it.”

The new push for enforcement of existing laws is part of the administration’s effort to protect Americans from migrants who game the immigration system. Cuccinelli’s statement said:

The President has made it a priority to ensure that every individual who seeks to come to the United States is self-sufficient, temporarily or permanently. The principle of self-sufficiency has been enshrined in our immigration laws since the 1800s, and we as an agency must ensure that immigrants who become part of this great country abide by this principle.

In May 2018, USCIS announced that it would require face-to-face interviews with people who ask for AoS because of marriage– or job-related claims. The decision was made to curb fraudulent marriages, as well as prevent fraud by low-wage foreign visa-workers.

One common AoS problem, according to officials, is that many illegals submit fake or incomplete “skeletal” AoS applications because of long-standing rules that state that temporary work permits should be granted to every AoS applicant.  

The Department of Justice is also trying to curb lawsuits that are intended to keep AoS applications from being rejected.


Immigration Numbers:

Each year, roughly four million young Americans join the workforce after graduating from high school or university.

But the federal government then imports about 1.1 million legal immigrants and refreshes a resident population of roughly 1.5 million white-collar visa workers — including approximately one million H-1B workers — and approximately 500,000 blue-collar visa workers.

The government also prints more than one million work permits for foreigners, tolerates about eight million illegal workers, and does not punish companies for employing the hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants who sneak across the border or overstay their legal visas each year.

This policy of inflating the labor supply boosts economic growth for investors because it ensures that employers do not have to compete for American workers by offering higher wages and better working conditions.

This policy of flooding the market with cheap, foreign, white-collar graduates and blue-collar labor also shifts enormous wealth from young employees towards older investors, even as it also widens wealth gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, and hurts children’s schools and college educations. It also pushes Americans away from high-tech careers and sidelines millions of marginalized Americans, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions. The labor policy also moves business investment and wealth from the Heartland to the coastal citiesexplodes rents and housing costsshrivels real estate values in the Midwest, and rewards investors for creating low-tech, labor-intensive workplaces.


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