President Donald Trump has said he will pursue legislation that would bar immigrants from being eligible for welfare for at least five years.
At a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, last night he said ‘the time has come’ for ‘new immigration rules’ that would require those seeking admission to the country to be able to support themselves financially and would bar the use of welfare for a period of at least five years.
He said his administration would be ‘putting in legislation to that effect very shortly.’
It is unclear, however, how Trump’s proposal would change the current situation.
U.S. immigration law already bars most foreigners who enter the country on immigrant visas from being eligible for federal benefits like Social Security and food stamps for the first five years.
States typically have the authority to determine eligibility for local programs.
Foreigners with non-immigrant visas and those who don’t have legal status are generally prohibited from those benefits altogether.
Trump’s plan would also allow the US to refuse entry to people who are likely to need state assistance by becoming a ‘public charge’.
Such a concept has been a feature in American law for many years, but the new president is expected to ensure it is enforced as well as strengthening restrictions.
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