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PROMOTING SELF-SUFFICIENCY: President Donald J. Trump is enforcing existing restrictions on welfare use by non-citizens in order to promote self-sufficiency.

  • President Trump signed a memorandum to ensure agencies fully enforce restrictions in place under current law on the use of income-based welfare programs by non-citizens.
    • Under current law, individuals sponsoring a non-citizen must take on financial responsibility for any income-based welfare benefits they receive.
  • The President is directing agencies to issue guidance to ensure income-based welfare payments are recovered from the sponsor.
    • Agencies will ensure sponsors are advised of their financial obligations under the law.
    • Cases where the sponsor fails to pay the lawfully required reimbursements will be referred for collection procedures in accordance with the law.
  • The national policy signed into law by President Clinton in 1996 made clear that aliens should “not depend on public resources to meet their needs.”
  • President Clinton signed legislation to require that the sponsor of a non-citizen be requested to reimburse any income-based welfare benefits the non-citizen receives.
    • This legislation, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, was supported by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).
  • President Clinton also signed legislation requiring the sponsor’s financial resources to be considered when determining whether a non-citizen is eligible for income-based welfare.
    • This legislation, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, was supported by top Congressional Democrats.

ABUSE OF THE WELFARE SYSTEM: Rampant welfare abuse by non-citizens is straining the social safety net and jeopardizing benefits needed by the most vulnerable American citizens.

  • Vast numbers of non-citizens and their families take advantage of our welfare programs.
    • 78 percent of households headed by a non-citizen with no more than a high school education use at least one welfare program.
    • 58 percent of all households headed by a non-citizen use at least one welfare program.
    • 50 percent of all non-citizen headed households include at least one person who receives health insurance through Medicaid.
  • Welfare payments to sponsored aliens put further stress on our Nation’s safety net programs.

MERIT-BASED IMMIGRATION: This is the latest step by the Trump Administration to ensure that those coming to our country are self-sufficient and do not strain our public resources. 

  • Under our current immigration system, two-thirds of immigrants entering the United States do so based on family ties rather than on skill or merit.
  • This follows the President’s proposed housing rule that would require verification of the immigration status of anyone who seeks to access housing benefits.
  • A merit-based immigration system would further ensure that immigrants make positive contributions to the United States.
  • Americans widely agree with the President, with around 73 percent of Americans supporting requirements that immigrants be able to support themselves financially.