Immigrants: Should they be self-sufficient?
The Trump administration often appears “too incompetent to act on its worst impulses,” said Gabrielle Bruney in Esquire.com. But in unveiling a plan “that would force immigrants to choose between feeding and housing themselves and their children and being awarded green cards,” Trump’s anti-immigrant hard-liners remind us of the cruelty they are capable of inflicting. The new rule would make receiving any public benefits—including Medicaid, food stamps, public housing, even prescription-drug subsidies—count as “heavily weighted negative factors” in the consideration of green card applications. Ironically, the only immigrants affected by this rule would be legal immigrants—“you know, the ones who are ‘waiting in line’ and doing everything conservatives say they’re supposed to do.” Why punish these families for getting a hand as they build new lives?
It’s not cruel to insist that foreign-born people seeking to live in America should “pull their own weight,” said Dan Stein in TheHill.com. The Trump administration has merely provided a “long-overdue clarification” of centuries of American law and tradition that immigrants should be “financially self-sufficient.” But many recent arrivals work in low-skill, low-wage agricultural and industrial jobs, and nearly 50 percent qualify for food stamps and other already overburdened welfare programs. It’s time to restore “fiscal sanity” and “make immigration work for America again.” This is modest, sensible reform, said Mark Krikorian in NationalReview.com. Only “people applying for green cards” are affected by the new rule, not existing green-card holders applying for citizenship. Look: Hundreds of millions of people abroad want to move to the U.S. We should only accept those who “can pay their own bills.”
Andrew Carnegie came to this country “desperately poor at age 12,” said Noah Smith in Bloomberg.com. Like many immigrants, he overcame poverty with “talent, grit, work ethic, and ambition.” Obviously, not every immigrant will become a fabulously wealthy industrialist or entrepreneur, but “study after study finds that immigrants have strong levels of intergenerational mobility” and “tend to be more entrepreneurial than the native-born.” The Trump administration’s proposal would exclude immigrants who only need short-term assistance to make ends meet so they can “make good in their adopted country.” The next Andrew Carnegie might not be able to make it in America, because “you can’t have rags-to-riches stories if you kick out anyone who comes to the U.S. in rags.” ■