Should immigrants face barriers to welfare?

Should immigrants face barriers to welfare?


Originally published by The Washington Post

The Sept. 26 editorial “Needy immigrants need not apply” referred to “existing rules, in force for nearly two decades.” This referred to Bill Clinton-era practices of exempting certain welfare for the poor (food stamps, public housing, Medicaid) from long-standing immigration laws in force since the 1882 Immigration Act. These laws banned immigrants likely to become a “public charge.” Apparently, the Trump administration is trying to reverse the Clinton-era exemptions. The editorial described this as writing new rules. These rules would apply to future immigrants and future applications for green cards by legal immigrants.

Half of immigrant-headed households use welfare. The United States should screen for self-supporting immigrants over immigrants who come here and consume welfare intended for needy Americans. The costs of entitlements are borne by young, working-age Americans, a generation increasingly shut out of homeownership and starting families.

Mary Harrington, Richmond

The Sept. 26 editorial on immigration got my attention, particularly the bit about the administration’s proposal admitting it may lead to increased poverty, homelessness and poor health. Apparently, the administration’s idea of great doesn’t include food, health or housing for first-generation American children who will be most affected by this discriminatory policy.

My grandfather was a refugee in World War II. He became a butcher. My mom is an accountant. And I am a consultant. Immigrants and their children and grandchildren contribute more than any benefits they receive — if they don’t starve first.

Colleen McCracken, Washington

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