President Trump defended his administration’s new rules discouraging immigrants from using welfare programs, saying Tuesday that it’s unfair to American taxpayers to make them pay the bills for the world’s poor.
“It’s long overdue,” the president told reporters. “I am tired of seeing our taxpayers paying for people to come into the country and immediately going on welfare.”
He spoke a day after Homeland Security finalized rules dealing with immigrants’ use of welfare.
U.S. law has long discouraged immigrants from ending up on the public dole, and the new rules law out a method for doing that. Immigration officers evaluating applications for adjustment of status, such as an application for a green card, could hold it against a migrant who’d had a past history of welfare use in the U.S., or who appeared likely to end up using it in the future.
The rules are designed to encourage immigrants to be self-sufficient — though there are exceptions for refugees, military families and cases where children are the ones getting the assistance.
The new rules have sparked frantic outcry from Democrats and immigrant-rights groups who said the U.S. should not discourage poor people who cannot support themselves from attempting to immigrate.
A number of those critics called Mr. Trump’s plan racist, saying it would end up affecting migrants from Latin America the most.
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