The Trump administration is restoring a 23-year-old rule that requires sponsors of immigrants to re-pay the government for the costs any federal social services the immigrant uses.
This change will likely serve two purposes, one to limit sponsors afraid of having to pay this cost and throw current immigrants off the welfare rolls saving the federal government millions.
Under the provision, each future sponsor of an immigrant would need to sign an affidavit that would spell out the financial responsibilities for the sponsored immigrant and create a collection mechanism to recover funds from the sponsor. The Department of Health and Human Services is to collect the data of the sponsors and the immigrants, while the Treasury Department would collect the funds.
The move is part of Trump’s new “merit-based” immigration policy and is aimed to bring in immigrants in a far more serious vein.
As Breitbart News explains:
For example, if a visa holder has used $10,000 in food stamp benefits while living in the U.S., when a family member sponsors them for a green card, that family member will be notified of the legal immigrant’s welfare costs to taxpayers and obligated to pay back the amount.
If the sponsor of a legal immigrant does not pay the welfare cost, the Treasury Offset Program will take the money out of the sponsor’s taxes for that year. Federal officials said implementation of this order would begin in September.
The Trump administration notes that the refusal to enforce this rule has cost the government billions of dollars since 1996.
“This executive action will dramatically curb ‘welfare tourism’ and protect U.S. benefits for U.S. families,” an official told Breitbart. “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. Congress passed these laws – but they were effectively never used. Now they will be.”
This is a great idea. I hope it gets put in place.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.