President Donald Trump was in his element on Wednesday night, engaging a massive crowd of enthusiastic supporters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, complete with lines about the disastrous Paris Accord, the big, beautiful wall and immigration all scoring huge applause.
But it was Trump’s proposal about denying immigrants government assistance for at least five years after entering the U.S. that really struck a nerve with the liberal media:
“The time has come for new immigration rules which say that those seeking admission into our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years,” Trump told his supporters filling the U.S. Cellular Center.
The proposal earned enthusiastic applause, which apparently acted as a cue for the media to attack. Mainstream media outlets quickly sought to mock Trump, suggesting exact legislation (the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996) has been implemented for nearly 20 years.
But that’s not really the case.
As noted by Fox News, the 1996 law, which states that immigrants who become dependents within five years of arrival can legally be deported, comes with caveats and is not even fully enacted due to rollbacks from both President George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Moreover, as it stands now, states typically determine who receives public assistance, not the federal government.
“Trump’s proposal would also prevent the admission of people who are likely to become so-called ‘public charges’ within five years of their arrival,” reports Fox. “The concept of ‘public charge’ has been part of U.S. immigration law for over a century. It allows the government to bar entry to individuals who are likely to seek public assistance.”
Trump’s proposal is expected to strengthen the rules on deeming an immigrant a “public charge,” as well as making “more categories of federal benefits off-limits to immigrants.”
A draft of such an executive order was leaked last year, but according to Trump’s remarks in Iowa, the president is looking to make the five-year ban on benefits into law codified by Congress.
According to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies in 2015, “51 percent of households headed by an immigrant are using some form of public assistance, compared to 30 percent among non-immigrant families.”