June 13, 2019
New Op-ed: Dems Must Prioritize Welfare for Americans, Not Border Crossers
Dems Must Prioritize Welfare for Americans, Not Border Crossers
Each day, the crisis on our southern border continues to grow. Apprehensions have swelled to 675,000 this year alone, more than double the number from the same period last year. Our nation’s resources are stretched thin and members of Congress continue to sit on their hands, refusing to legislate reform, or at the very least provide further funding and resources to the strained facilities responsible for the migrants who cross our border.
Many Americans are unaware of just how far this crisis extends; its impact stretches far beyond our southern states, reaching cities across our nation thanks to loopholes that allow illegal aliens to be released into the country with ample access to job opportunities and welfare programs. While securing our border remains imperative, closing the loopholes that are driving the crisis is just as important.
Loopholes like “catch-and-release” are responsible for the thousands of illegal aliens living in our country unaccounted for. Data from 2017 shows that 43% of illegal aliens freed pending their court hearings under catch-and-release do not, in fact, show up for their hearings. To break that down further, that’s 41,302 out of 95,342 never appeared -- and that number increases to 49 percent when looking at the data for minors.
As such, America’s resources are completely overwhelmed and our immigration system has reached a breaking point, but not just on the border.
Nearly three-quarters of Americans support measures that require immigrants to be able to support themselves financially. However, under our current system, 63% of non-citizen households access welfare benefits, compared to 35% of legal citizen households.
Just this week, California Democrats voted to expand full health care benefits to undocumented immigrants, ultimately paid for by the American taxpayer, of course.
Under our current law, non-citizens who are sponsored by a legal citizen can receive welfare benefits. Loopholes like this are straining the programs that are meant to provide for vulnerable Americans.
Homelessness is on the rise across America’s cities, causing an increasing demand for housing assistance benefits. Millions of Americans are waiting for this assistance, but according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, only one out of every four families that qualify is actually receiving it. The remaining families must wait, on average, over three years for access to this aid.
In Los Angeles, where the homeless crisis is extensive, the Housing Authority opened 20,000 spots on its voucher program and received nearly 200,000 applications.
Tremendous demand coupled with the loophole that allows non-citizen access has allowed for this benefit to be exploited. Nearly 32,000 households headed by illegal aliens are receiving this aid ahead of American citizens.
That is why President Trump signed a presidential memorandum in May requiring government agencies to fully enforce welfare program restrictions already in place. The idea is to alleviate wait times by vetting applicants to ensure that illegal aliens do not receive benefits that should be limited to citizens and legal immigrants.
More than 1 million immigrants arrive in the United States each year, and two-thirds of those do so based on family ties instead of skills or merit, making them more inclined to rely on welfare benefits. While the economy continues to flourish under President Trump, our prosperity is lucrative to those coming to our country for greater opportunity. Productivity growth reached 3.4% in the first quarter of 2019 and more than 5.8 million jobs have been created since President Trump was elected. There are more jobs than there are people to fill them. President Trump recognizes this and wants to promote self-sufficiency and prioritize highly skilled workers, thereby curbing “welfare tourism.”
Our lawmakers must work with the Trump administration to promote a merit-based immigration system that would ensure immigrants who are admitted to the United States can support themselves and contribute to our nation’s growth.
President Trump has worked tirelessly to provide a solution for the humanitarian crisis on our border, calling on Congress to legislate reform; but with ineffectual congressional Democrats, the administration has been blockaded at nearly every turn.
Americans should not have to fight for the welfare benefits that are theirs in the first place. Democrats need to put partisan politics aside; the lives of people on both sides of the border depend on it.
Cora Mandy is a spokeswoman for America First Action, an organization in support of the Trump administration.