24 May 2019 Black Activists Applaud Policy Requiring Noncitizens to Pay Back Welfare Benefits
Trump Order Holds Immigrants and Their Sponsors Fiscally Accountable
Activists with the Project 21 black leadership network are applauding the Trump Administration’s announcement of a policy requiring noncitizens or their sponsors to be financially responsible for the expense of any welfare benefits a noncitizen receives. The activists note that this policy is compliant with immigration recommendations found in Project 21’s own “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America.”
“This is a move that should be welcomed by those providing social services, because it will ensure American citizens who need assistance are not pushed aside. Noncitizens are draining resources meant for those who have already helped pay for them,” said Project 21 member Emery McClendon. “We must reserve these services for Americans first and foremost because they were created to give our own a hand-up in hard times. Yet the system currently turns away our own and places others ahead of them because of a failure to enforce the law.”
Under the terms of a new presidential memorandum that has reportedly already been signed by President Donald Trump, federal agencies must seek reimbursement for welfare benefits used by noncitizens. A senior administration official told RealClearPolitics it is a “transformative action to restore the foundational principle of U.S. immigration law: that those seeking to join our society must support themselves financially… [or] must turn to their sponsor – not the federal government.”
“I’m for immigration reform and a merit-based system,” said Project 21 member Derrick Hollie. “Our federal government has enough burden taking care of our fellow Americans. It shouldn’t be overburdened and further strained because noncitizens are taking advantage of Medicaid and other welfare programs. I can’t think of any other country in the world that allows noncitizens unfettered access to government-run programs.”
The policy unveiled by the White House isn’t new, but simply enforces existing law. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act and Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act were both passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996. However, the clawback provisions contained in these bills for noncitizens’ use of welfare programs were never actually enforced.
“What should be frustrating to taxpayers is that President Trump had to issue a memorandum to compel the enforcement of federal laws already on the books. The 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act makes clear that it is reasonable to expect immigrants’ sponsors to reimburse the American people for their expenses,” said Project 21 member Melanie Collette. “And the establishment of a merit-based immigration system is not a matter of American selfishness – it’s an acknowledgment of what makes America exceptional.”
Project 21’s “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America” – its 57-point plan for removing barriers blocking blacks from empowerment and ensuring that they have their chance of attaining the American dream – recommends prohibiting illegal immigrants from accessing all but emergency public services because the cost unfairly and disproportionately falls on black families. Project 21 noted that, while black citizens pay their share of these taxes, government programs funded through these taxes can be reduced or made unavailable to blacks due to noncitizens taking advantage of them. Focusing on illegal immigration, the Blueprint specifically recommends:
• Barring illegal immigrants from accessing any public services, except emergency services.
• Terminating federal funding of any social service agency that provides non-emergency services to illegal immigrants.
• Prosecuting providers and recipients who allow scarce federally-funded social services to be used by those who are in the country illegally.
• Ending states’ special programs for assisting unlawful immigrants, redirecting those funds to needy citizens.
“It seems like a no-brainer that if a person voluntarily agrees to take on the responsibility of sponsoring an immigrant or an immigrant family, then they should also be financially responsible for any costs to the social safety net incurred by the immigrant,” said Project 21 member Christopher Arps. “The real news here is that our immigration laws are once again simply being ignored while we have hundreds of thousands of people a month stampeding to our border with dubious claims of political asylum. I applaud President Trump for putting the American taxpayer first by finally enforcing this nearly 25-year-old law.”
To schedule an interview with a member of Project 21, contact Judy Kent at (703) 759-0269.
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