In an opinion piece for the Washington Post, Catherine Rampell emphasizes yet another unnecessarily cruel drafted policy from the Trump administration that will punish immigrants and their families who benefited from public benefit programs like CHIP and SNAP.
The administration’s new proposal, if enacted, will target immigrants and U.S. citizens with immigrant relatives, ensuring that their efforts to reach the American Dream are thwarted by Trump’s incessant need to traumatize anyone who is seeking refuge in the U.S.
Rampell’s piece is excerpted below and available in full here.
On Tuesday, NBC News reported that the Trump administration is readying a new rule that should make your blood boil. The initiative, in the works for more than a year, would make it harder for legal immigrants to receive either green cards or citizenship if they — or anyone in their households — has ever benefited from a long list of safety-net programs. These include the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), food stamps or even health insurance purchased on the Obamacare exchanges.
Three points are worth emphasizing here.
First is that, again, this policy would apply to immigrants who are in the country legally . It’s not about punishing people for “sneaking across the border,” that apparently unforgivable transgression that Trump officials have previously used to justify state-sanctioned child abuse. And, in any case, undocumented immigrants are already excluded from nearly all federal anti-poverty programs.
Second, this rule is ostensibly about making sure immigrants are self-sufficient and not a drain on public coffers. But NBC reports that the rule could disqualify immigrants making as much as 250 percent of the poverty level.
Third, and most important, is that under the proposal, it’s not only immigrants who must forgo safety-net benefits if they don’t wish to be penalized by the immigration system. It is everyone in a given immigrant’s household.
Any policy that discourages, even a little bit, poor families’ use of such services is not just heartless. From an economic perspective, it is foolish. We need healthy, well-nourished, well-educated children to become healthy, well-nourished, productive workers.
But once again, children and the economic future they represent are the casualties of Trump’s casual cruelty.