According to NBC News, the Trump administration is in the late stages of developing policies aimed at keeping as many as 20 million legal immigrants from gaining green cards or applying for citizenship.
Using the same rationale employed during the 1930s to block Jewish refugees from settling in the U.S., persons deemed as potential, past, or current “public charges,” will be deemed ineligible for permanent residency. The slight of hand needed to make this happen involves labeling virtually all government programs as ‘welfare.’
The NBC report profiles a 55-year-old Haitian man who has been in the country since 1989, works eighty hours a week at two jobs, and is a homeowner. Because he required government assistance to care for his US-born daughter’s severe disabilities, his quest for citizenship–already in trouble due to another policy reversal–is likely to end in failure.
The move, which would not need congressional approval, is part of White House senior adviser Stephen Miller’s plan to limit the number of migrants who obtain legal status in the U.S. each year.
Details of the rulemaking proposal are still being finalized, but based on a recent draft seen last week and described to NBC News, immigrants living legally in the U.S. who have ever used or whose household members have ever used Obamacare, children’s health insurance, food stamps and other benefits could be hindered from obtaining legal status in the U.S.
Immigration lawyers and advocates and public health researchers say it would be the biggest change to the legal immigration system in decades and estimate that more than 20 million immigrants could be affected. They say it would fall particularly hard on immigrants working jobs that don’t pay enough to support their families.
Last year the Trump administration rejected a Department of Health and Human Resources study finding refugees brought in $63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost.
The draft report, which was obtained by The New York Times, contradicts a central argument made by advocates of deep cuts in refugee totals as President Trump faces an Oct. 1 deadline to decide on an allowable number. The issue has sparked intense debate within his administration as opponents of the program, led by Mr. Trump’s chief policy adviser, Stephen Miller, assert that continuing to welcome refugees is too costly and raises concerns about terrorism.
Advocates of the program inside and outside the administration say refugees are a major benefit to the United States, paying more in taxes than they consume in public benefits, and filling jobs in service industries that others will not. But research documenting their fiscal upside — prepared for a report mandated by Mr. Trump in a March presidential memorandum implementing his travel ban — never made its way to the White House. Some of those proponents believe the report was suppressed.
Reason listed: Ignorance.
Merit based immigration, huh?
Trump aide Stephen Miller, meet your great-grandfather, who flunked his naturalization test https://t.co/s95IarooK4
— Sisyphus313 (@Sisyphus351) August 7, 2018
Jonathan Chait at the New Yorker says the pretense of the administration’s immigration policies being based on simply enforcing the law is all-but-over:
Since the 19th century, immigration policy has discriminated against migrants who might become a “public charge.” But Trump plans to expand the definition of the term to include basic benefits for the working class, like health insurance. Almost nobody in the United States actually pays for their own insurance in a completely self-sufficient fashion. People who get insurance through their job are benefitting from a massive, costly tax deduction for employer-sponsored insurance. Those who get it through Medicare likewise enjoy a taxpayer-financed social benefit.
Programs like Obamacare and CHIP simply extend the same regimen of subsidies and risk pooling to the low-income population that have already been granted to the middle class. To define people getting insurance this way as “public charges” does violence to the concept. But it is also perfectly in keeping with the Randian ideology that has crept into Republican thought and never left, despite Trump’s ostensible populism. Low-income workers are to be reconceptualized as the leeching 47-percenters that Mitt Romney so despised.
Trump’s contribution to the party creed will be to infuse the top-down class war with a racial tinge. That this all proceeds from some fastidiousness about following the rules is a pretense nobody need bother entertaining anymore.
Miller is offering the bizarro mirror universe version of a path to citizenship or amnesty, where *documented* immigrants are placed into the same kind of unprotected limbo that the undocumented are currently in, becoming the new permanently exploited working class.
— Alexandra Erin (@alexandraerin) August 7, 2018
Here’s a reaction from Gabe Ortiz at Daily Kos:
Miller joined the administration as a former aide to another white supremacist, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, but he was radicalized as far back as middle school, reportedly disowning a childhood pal for being Latino. This is who is now driving our immigration policy. “I don’t think that most Americans understand that a 33-year-old individual with connections to white supremacists is actually crafting policies that are going to literally destroy our country and what we stand for,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state said in June. “I have demanded that Stephen Miller be fired. He should not be in the White House.”
“This will be yet another dangerous, desperate and cynical strategy aimed at kicking immigrants out of America and keeping Republicans in power,” said immigrant rights leader Frank Sharry. “In an unprecedented and reckless fashion, Trump and Miller are using the full power of the state to enact cruel policies aimed at new Americans, many of whom have strong roots in American communities. They do so to cynically divide Americans in hopes of mobilizing disaffected white voters and blaming stagnant wages, rising healthcare costs, defunded schools and threats to Social Security and Medicare on ‘the other.’”
The administration’s war on people of color continues unabated. At present, their most important battlefront is immigration. While there has been high profile coverage of some egregious actions, like the 572 children separated from the parents at the border still in federal custody, there are innumerable smaller outrages.
Plainclothes ICE agents are grabbing people with warrants never shown and refusing to show ID to witnesses who question their actions. Border patrol agents are boarding Greyhouse buses on domestic routes demanding proof of citizenship. And the President of the United States of America unashamedly parrots the talking points of white nationalists.
These immigration actions cannot and should not be looked at separately from the rest of the Republican agenda.
Encouraged by the hateful rhetoric of the administration, unprecedented public displays of racism are the new normal. It is clear the GOP will largely embrace racism, or at least won’t oppose it, as Donald Trump moves to energize his base for the mid-terms.
The content of President Donald Trump’s dig at basketball superstar LeBron James might have been standard Trump fare — questioning the intelligence of a prominent African-American who has been critical of him — but the timing of the tweet made it stand out on Friday night.
The post landed almost exactly a year after the deadly clash between white nationalists and Black Lives Matter protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, when the president refused to condemn white supremacists and neo-Nazis outright…
… In fact, while Trump hasn’t changed, he’s no longer isolated, and his race and culture wars now pose one of the biggest challenges to Democrats plotting how to win back the House in 2018 and to take on Trump in 2020.
This story sickens me. Shameful is not even a strong enough word. Emmett Till’s memorial sign was riddled with bullet holes. 35 days after being replaced, it was shot up again @CNN https://t.co/cKcRlng3rf
— Al Bernstein (@AlBernstein) August 6, 2018
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