Immigration as a Public Charge

Our immigration system is broken, but not in the way that those who utter such declarations believe it to be.  Immigration can be an integral part of a pro-growth economic agenda.  It can also become a public charge.  When liberals lament our broken immigration system, they are suggesting that we don’t admit enough low-skilled immigrants who will become a public charge and vote Democrat.  The reality is just the opposite.

According to Senator Jeff Sessions, only .0084 percent of applicants from 2005-2012 were denied visas under the assumption that they would constitute a public charge.  During the turn of the 20th century, this wouldn’t have been such a concern because we did not have a vast welfare state – one that markets taxpayer-funded services to foreign countries.  Now we do.  Read this Daily Caller exposé and weep:

The United States Department of Agriculture has been working to dispel immigrants’ concerns that getting on Food Stamps will harm their chances of becoming U.S. citizens.

The USDA addresses those fears in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamp, brochures it distributes to Mexican consulates as part of its “partnership” with the Mexican government “to help educate eligible Mexican nationals living in the United States about available nutrition assistance.”

In one portion of the brochure, USDA’s text asks, “If I get on SNAP benefits, will I be a ‘public charge?’” The brochure then answers: “No. You and your family can apply for and receive SNAP benefits without hurting your chance of becoming U.S. citizens.”

So at a time when food stamp usage has surged to astronomical heights, costing over $80 billion per year, we are insisting that food stamp usage does not constitute a public charge.

In addition, the USDA assures illegal immigrants that they can still secure benefits on behalf of their children:

The brochure further advises immigrants that members of their family could qualify for food stamps, even if they don’t.

“If you are not eligible due to your immigration status, your legal immigrant or citizen children may still qualify,” the brochure reads. ”You do not have to provide immigration information about yourself  when you apply for your legal immigrant or citizen children.”


This is one thing that is lost on all those Republicans pushing the Dream Act.  Once the children of illegals are granted legal status (and a fast-track to citizenship), they will be able to secure benefits on behalf of their families.  The idea that we can grant citizenship to illegals or children of illegals without ending future anchor babies is absurd.  The idea that we will not balloon the welfare budget is preposterous.  It would take an awful lot of “Dreamers” ‘scoring 4.0 averages at Ivy League schools’ to outweigh this public charge.

Our current immigration system is completely inimical to the financial security of the country.  As the DC notes, 45.3 percent of households headed by a Mexican immigrant reported using food stamps, compared to 4.1 percent of all immigrant household heads and 13.9 percent for the native-born population.  It would be nice if we could feed all 7 billion people in the world, but both liberals and conservatives must admit that we need to prioritize the programs for those who are already here.  Any immigration reform must be built on a merit-based system that is pro-growth, not tendentious to any one region of the world, and won’t add to the budget.

Meanwhile, nobody is taking a leadership role on these much-needed reforms, due to the inane consensus that we must deal with the illegal immigration problem before reforming our legal immigration system.  Only in Washington can they demand we grant citizenship to 12 million illegals before fixing our legal immigration system and before we ensure that there is no future flow of illegal migration.

The lack of leadership on this issue is utterly astounding.  Speaking with a number of conservative offices, it appears that many of them are undereducated on this issue or indifferent to it altogether.  Folks, this is not just some periphery cultural issue.  It is a fiscal issue as well.  In what way is it fiscally conservative to adopt a blueprint that will add millions to the rolls of means-tested programs?  That is the trillion dollar question which remains unanswered by conservatives who support the Obama/Schumer proposals.



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