The Left creates a hullabaloo over denying green cards to migrants who are public charges
The Left is having a meltdown over the Trump administration's effort to begin enforcing longtime U.S. law about issuing green cards only to legal immigrants unlikely to become public charges.
"Damage the economy," blared the Los Angeles Times, citing a slew of open-borders advocates. "A cruel and racist campaign," yelled a leftist state attorney general, the Connecticut Mirror reported. It's a coast-to-coast collective howl, and another pile of lawsuits, once again, over whether the law means the law, are now commencing.
The whole thing goes to show how intertwined mass migration has become with the use of taxpayer-financed welfare services. The original American idea around immigration had been one of requiring a new entrant to show self-sufficiency instead of living off some feudal lord — supplicant, dependent, and obedient to the state. Today, immigration has become something different. According to the lefty New American Economy Research Fund, 7 million immigrants (as of 2017) now take some form of public assistance, whether it's straight welfare, food stamps, public housing, Medicaid, Medicare, or long-term care. For perspective, note that the U.S. takes in about a million legal immigrants per year, so we have seven years' worth of legal immigrants living on public assistance signaling something very wrong with the admission system. Walk into any food stamp office and notice how many languages the food stamp forms are printed in to get a sense of how word has gotten around and the bureaucrats are accommodating. Notice the Louis Vuitton designer hijabs and expensive cars of the "clients" applying for the aid. Aid of this kind pretty well ensures to even legal immigrants that assimilation into the U.S. isn't particularly necessary. Why bother to learn the language of the U.S. when the whole ride already is free?
Trump's plan is to encourage self-sufficiency among legal immigrants, and discourage the sponges, who have become rather large in number. There's nothing draconian about this; it's been the law of the U.S. since the 1880s.
It's also important, given that a recent study from the Center for Immigration Studies shows that migrants are coming to the U.S. grayer and grayer, meaning that they are past their prime working years and far more likely to use welfare services, particularly health care. Sleazy third world governments for years have used and benefited from such people's labor, and then fobbed off their elderly to the U.S. to get the gringos to pay for their pensions.
An analysis of the Census Bureau's American Community Survey shows that immigrants (legal and illegal) are coming to the United States at significantly older ages than in the past. The average age and the share arriving at or near retirement increased significantly in the last two decades. These findings have implications for the often-made argument that immigration makes the country significantly younger. The findings also have implications for public coffers because prior research indicates that younger immigrants tend to have a more positive lifetime fiscal impact than older immigrants. The nation's overall immigrant population is also aging rapidly.
Among the findings:
- The average age of newly arrived legal and illegal immigrants has increased from 26 in 2000 to 31 in 2017. The newly arrived are those who have lived in the country for 1.5 years or less at the time of the survey.
- Older age groups have seen the largest increases. The share of newly arrived immigrants who are 50 or over nearly doubled, from 8 percent to 15 percent; the share 55 and over more than doubled, from 5 percent to 12 percent; and the share 65 and older roughly tripled, from 2 percent to 6 percent.
- On an annual basis, 276,000 immigrants 50 and older now settle in the country, including 213,000 immigrants 55 and older, and 113,000 who are 65 and older.
- The rise in the age at arrival for immigrants is a broad phenomenon affecting immigrants from most of the primary sending regions and top sending countries.
- Several factors likely explain the rising age of new arrivals, including significant population aging in all of the top immigrant-sending regions of the world, an increase in the number of green cards going to the parents of U.S. citizens, and a decline in new illegal immigration prior to 2017.
I wrote about that issue last month here.
Politically, it's also a smart thing to do, it's what a majority of the voting public wants, given that in the case of illegal aliens, a very recent Heritage Action/Basswood Research poll shows that welfare use by this demographic is the number one thing that incenses voters across the board. Illegals can be argued to be a proxy for legal immigrants, who are the topic now.
On the one hand, 83 percent of Republican voters said that "illegal immigration affects my life," including strong majorities of working-class and suburban voters. Yet when asked what they considered to be illegal immigration's biggest consequence, the most common answer wasn't violence, job losses or cultural change; more than half said overuse of social services.
When you add in those respondents who answered "all of the above," more than three-quarters of Republican voters were deeply concerned about illegal immigrants abusing our health care system, schools and welfare programs. Among independent voters, a plurality of 43 percent listed it as immigration's biggest consequence (which may explain why 72 percent of GOP voters and 54 percent of independents want legal immigrants to be admitted to the U.S. on the basis of merit or skills).
To call it racist, as Connecticut state Attorney General William Tong does is actually rather racist in itself given that such an advocate assumes that anyone who's a non-white immigrant is going to be a natural welfare user, incapable of contributing to society other than as a politically useful grievance group. The reality is that people are people, and being that, they respond to incentives. If someone has the gumption to want a green card (and rest assured, many migrants do not), living a life of self-sufficiency is both good for their own self-esteem, and in the interest of the U.S. society, too. Welfare actually acts as a damper to assimilation, allowing it to be put off and the vast welfare population among legal immigrants shows it. The new regulation, by the way, rather compassionately wipes the slate clean for immigrants who have used the services but get off them as a result of the new policy. These people, after all, were also responding to incentives, the one that said: Go ahead and take the free stuff they're trying to push onto you.
Because when you get down to brass tacks, the howling from the leftis really an 'all about the money, honey' matter.
The Los Angeles Times and some other news outlets are raising holy hell about how discouraging legal migrants from using public benefits is going to "damage" the economy.
Laurel Lucia, director of the healthcare program at the UC Berkeley Labor Center, says the policy could have a damaging effect on California and the country's overall economy. Many in California who already have a green card or have become citizens may dis-enroll from public benefits such as Medi-Cal or CalFresh out of fear for what the policy may mean for themselves and for their family members, causing a chilling effect on the economy, she said.
"When these Californians dis-enroll that means fewer federal dollars coming into the state supporting not only our healthcare system but our whole economy," Lucia said.
In a 2018 study by Lucia, Ninez Ponce of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Tia Shimada of California Food Policy Advocates, the authors found the healthcare sector would suffer the biggest economic blow from such a policy change.
It's not just her, either. Janet Napolitano, chancellor of the University of California system makes the same argument for the same reason, warning that "the best and brightest" might be deterred from using California's public universities. Never mind the dumbest and least motivated, she'd like you to give them free stuff so that one exception to the rule gets into U.C. ahead of a U.S. citizen. Like all members of the Democrat industrial complex, she depends on a vast welfare class to ensure that the federal dollars roll in, and extra ones, of course, come in for immigrants in need of remedial English, legal services, medical care, making them an especially prized constituency for her public institution. She looks at them and she sees dollar signs. The rest of us see a welfare bill, along with millions of people using welfare instead of participating in the best economy the U.S. has seen in years.
Bureaucrats are going to screech loudest to preserve their sizes of their fiefs. Medieval lords, looking for supplicants, as it goes, supplicants who will respond in kind with Democrat votes, not contributions to the economy. That's what's really riling the left.