The number of illegals who live on government assistance has been a sore point for those who resent the fact that their tax dollars go to supporting criminal aliens, but it appears the Trump administration’s efforts to crack down on illegal immigration are bearing some fruit.
Politico recently reported that illegal immigrants are removing themselves from government welfare programs. Why? Because the Trump administration might prohibit them from obtaining green cards in the future.
Illegal Immigrants Quit Welfare
Local health providers have stated that they have received phone calls from legal and illegal immigrants alike requesting to be removed from WIC, which is a nutrition program provided for pregnant women and their children. The increase in calls occurred after news reports indicated that the Trump administration is considering denying legal status to people who have taken advantage of public welfare programs. Government agencies claim that their enrollment has decreased by about 20%.
Of course, the report about the White House drew criticism. Politico states that some health advocates argue that a change in policy could put children at risk. According to these individuals, this could increase costs for healthcare. Rev. Douglas Greenway, president of the National WIC Association, said: “When any population that’s potentially eligible for this program is either driven away by changes in regulation or legislation or simply by political rhetoric inducing fear, there are huge personal consequences to those babies and their families.”
Could This Be a Deterrent?
While the bulk of the illegal immigration debate centers on border security and deportation, many focus more on removing the incentive for people to break the law when they come to the U.S. It is the reason that programs like E-Verify exist. By cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants, it will be much more difficult for them to find jobs. If an individual knows they will not be able to earn income, they will be less likely to enter the country illegally.
Taking government assistance off the table could have the same impact. A large percentage of those who use government welfare programs are both legal and illegal immigrants. The idea is that if people who want to come to the United States know they will not be able to access public benefits, they will be less likely to break the law to get into the country.
While we do not yet know whether the White House will implement measures to take welfare benefits from immigrants, this story indicates that this type of action might be effective at persuading people to follow the nation’s immigration laws. There is still more to be done in the effort to curtail illegal immigration, but this story gives us an important piece of information: If illegals don’t have a reason to break our laws, they probably won’t.