Trump draft executive order full of sound and fury on immigration, welfare and deportation
By Janell Ross, Washington Post
February 4, 2017

A draft plan, under discussion inside the Trump administration, promises to exclude would-be immigrants who might need public assistance and to deport, whenever possible, those already dependent on welfare.

The draft executive order, as written, illuminates one of the ways in which the Trump administration plans to deliver on campaign-trail promises to halt what candidate Trump repeatedly described as the intentional abuse of American social service programs. The effort, as described, appears to want to reduce immigrants’ impact on American taxpayers and the workforce. But there are just a few problems with Trump’s draft order.

They begin with the facts.

The language in the order, as written, portrays immigrants generally as a drain on the American taxpayer, and would direct the government to address the issue in several ways. The draft order would:

Direct various federal agencies to more strictly identify and exclude potential immigrants likely to need certain types of public aid and deport those already in the United States who have had to rely on social services help.

Command federal officials to determine how much the federal government could save — it specifically suggests a savings of $100 billion — if immigrants were limited to getting “only the public benefits that they are eligible to receive.”

Compel federal officials to demand reimbursement from people inside the United States who made legal promises to support immigrant relatives, if necessary.

Require social service agencies to report immigrant benefit recipients to federal authorities.

The order calls for lots of research too, including how the estimated $100 billion in savings the order says these activities would generate could be brought to bear on domestic poverty along with regular reports monitoring the number of immigrants blocked, reimbursements demanded and the status of monitoring efforts to stop immigrants from receiving public benefits.

But, almost none of the issues identified in the draft order exist as they are described in the order.

Immigration is complex. Citizenship status can change and, in many U.S. households, citizens and legal and illegal immigrants live together, making the rights and benefits available to them difficult to quantify or classify as aid to “aliens.” Long-standing U.S. law already makes it rare for noncitizens to receive most forms of public assistance, such as cash payments. And, experts in immigration law and the nation’s public assistance programs say there’s little data to support the administration’s claim that immigrants disproportionately draw on public aid.

 


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