President Trump’s new order restricting immigration rights on anyone who needs welfare is playing out like everything else: Democrats and the national media are raving hysterically, even though the policy is only a trim at the margins of a problem the size of Jupiter.
When the administration said it would no longer pay for hormone injections and genital mutilation surgery for people in the military, the media greeted it with hysteria.
When the administration said it would give the middle class a minor tax break, the media greeted it with hysteria.
When the administration said it would release a bunch of convicts before their prisons sentences were completed, the media greeted it with hysteria. (Wait, sorry — the media were at peace with that one. Never mind.)
Anyway, the new Trump rule does nothing more than ask that immigrants coming to the U.S. and those who are already here to make their way without government assistance.
At least, that’s what it purports to do.
It doesn’t even really do that. It does, like, at most 40% of that.
Speaking at the White House on Monday, acting Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli checked off a litany of exemptions to the rule that nearly renders it pointless.
After making a big ado about “self-sufficiency and personal responsibility,” and his personal family history that no one cares about, Cuccinelli said that, yes, the administration would start revoking and denying visas for immigrants who receive or are likely to receive “one or more designated public benefits” over the course of 36 months.
There were some minor caveats. For example, if an immigrant receives two different types of government benefits, that would count for two months instead of one, thus reducing the time an immigrant had to maintain their visa if they’re already here. Or if the immigrant is a child, they’re exempt from all of the rules. Or, more importantly, if the immigrant needs any type of benefit that they’re currently legally entitled to at all, they’re probably exempt from that, too!
Like all of Trump’s threats related to immigration, the new rule is more bark than bite. Initially, it sounds sharp. In practice, it’s shaky.
Cuccinelli told impoverished immigrants and their Democrat enablers to fret not, because “the rule does not consider many forms of government assistance that protect children and pregnant women’s health as public benefits.” That includes, he said, “emergency medical assistance, disaster relief, national school lunch programs, WIC (food stamps), CHIP (child health insurance), Medicaid received by people under the age of 21 or pregnant women, as well as foster care and adoption subsidies, student and mortgage loans, energy assistance, food pantries, homeless shelters, and Head Start.”
What, exactly, does that leave? Presents under the tree, delivered in person by Santa?
Studies by pro and anti-immigration groups have both shown that the vast majority of public benefits consumed by immigrants goes to children and the women who have them and, by consequence, the men who are involved in their lives. (If an 8-year-old immigrant child gets a government housing voucher, who do you think lives with him?) There isn’t a single middle-class family in America that gets these things for free. But the taxpayer is expected to fork out hundreds of thousands of dollars for any destitute foreigner who shows up needing a handout. That used to be because of Democrats and really bad Republicans. Now it’s because of Trump.
Here’s a fun exercise: If you have a job and pay into your employer based insurance, check how much you’re expected to pay for a visit to urgent medical care. Now take that number and subtract the same amount, and that’s how much an immigrant who just got here will be expected to pay under Trump. Zero.
Admittedly, the administration’s new rule is a massive nod in the right direction. It will — hopefully — put a temporary stop to the people who aren’t here yet and would need all this welfare otherwise.
But that’s not what will drive the media in to a seizure. They’ll be furious instead that anything has happened at all.