President Signs Memo Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Immigrant Sponsors
Heather Ham-Warren | May 24, 2019
On Thursday evening, President Trump signed a memorandum that will finally enforce a 23-year-old provision requiring sponsors of legal immigrants to reimburse the government for any social services the immigrant uses in the United States. The provision was part of a welfare reform package signed into law in 1996 by then-President Bill Clinton, but which has not been consistently enforced until now. Interestingly, the original legislation was introduced by two Democrats—Senators Patrick Leahy from Vermont and Patty Murray from Washington.
Under the provision, and President Trump’s memorandum, future immigrant sponsors will be required to sign an affidavit ensuring financial responsibility for the sponsored immigrant. Additionally, the memo creates a collection mechanism to recover any needed funds from the sponsor. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will collect the data on immigrants and their sponsors, and the Department of Treasury will collect any funds deemed necessary.
In the words of former President Clinton, aliens should “not depend on public resources to meet their needs.” Unfortunately, today, vast numbers of non-citizens and their families take advantage of American welfare programs. According to statistics from the White House, a whopping seventy-eight percent of households headed by a non-citizen with no more than a high school education use at least one welfare program. Fifty-eight percent of all households headed by a non-citizen use at least one welfare program, while half of all non-citizen headed households have at least one person who receives health insurance through Medicaid.
Our social safety net is financed by and intended to assist American taxpayers, yet rampant welfare abuse by non-citizens is straining the system and jeopardizing benefits needed by the most vulnerable American citizens.
“This executive action will dramatically curb ‘welfare tourism’ and protect U.S. benefits for U.S. families,” a senior administration official told The Daily Caller. “It will also ensure that immigrant sponsors cannot continue the practice of bringing in large numbers of welfare-dependent immigrants: because they will be financially liable.”