True Compassion


President Trump has, at long last, the support of an administration team that is actually supporting his goals. Just as he fulfilled the decades-old bipartisan promise to move our embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of the state of Israel, so too he delights in finding other areas of law and policy that the swamp kept submerged or tangled up for decades. He is about to do so again, this time on immigration, and it can be a broader winner if he promotes it correctly.*

The president is taking up the old establishment on its false public professions: that all immigration benefits America, and that immigrants are not a burden on working-class Americans. Since we have been repeatedly assured that immigrants come here to work and do not wish to be burdens, or mooches on our health system, naturally it is reasonable to verify visa applicants have the resources to obtain health insurance at their own expense, or the expense of a sponsoring employer. So, President Trump is doing what Presidents Obama and Bush refused to do:

President Donald Trump announced Friday that legal immigrants will be denied visas unless they can prove they have health insurance or the means to cover medical costs.

The rule, which takes effect Nov. 3, is part of a broader effort within the administration that seeks to make it more difficult for low-income legal immigrants who receive food stamps or other taxpayer-funded assistance to stay in the country.

Ken Cuccinelli, the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, announced the broader policy in August, explaining that immigrants who could become a “public charge” would be rejected.

Even opposing lawyers see it is likely on firm legal grounds:

Immigrant rights advocates have filed multiple lawsuits against the administration over the broader policy, which could impact 400,000 legal permanent resident applicants a year.

Immigration attorney Elizabeth Jamae of San Francisco’s Pearl Law Group said the health care rule is on more solid legal ground and could possibly withstand challenges.

“There’s very little case law out there but what does exist does give the president broad authority,” she said.

It is important to push back in the right way on the “compassion” scam. We have a massive opioid epidemic, a massive homeless population with mental, substance abuse, and infectious health problems, and a working-class that is just starting to get ahead with a job. All of these vulnerable populations of Americans need some assistance with health care access. All the suburban women, who we are told clutch their pearls over their lattes in the name of compassion, must be engaged on whether they have it in their hearts to care about those Americans who are not as fortunate as themselves.

Every time someone refers to an old poem, every Republican should answer that the poem is on a plaque on Ellis Island, where every single immigrant had to get off the ship to answer questions, before being allowed to set foot on our shores. Everyone was checked for diseases, and not allowed to pass until they were well. Everyone was checked for financial support, and no one was allowed in unless they had a financial sponsor, or enough money to prove they would not be a burden on the public. That was the fair and just way for American workers.

President Trump should announce the change in administrative policy is being made to more faithfully follow the law and to keep faith with the American people. He should be tweeting or posting short videos with messages like this:

“We must always properly care for our own people first. I just signed a presidential proclamation for Child Health Day. Child Health Day is October 7th this year.** We have such a great opportunity to beat childhood cancer and treat and prevent addiction. At the same time, we are still fighting to ensure every veteran gets the care they need, when they need it. And the homeless, what a shame on our nation that the streets of some of our major cities, all run by Democrats, are filled with people sleeping on the pavement! Until every family without shelter and every homeless veteran is properly cared for, unaccountable judges and career politicians have no business luring *more* vulnerable people into our country for their own cynical political benefit.

* Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Will Financially Burden the United States Healthcare System

** Presidential Proclamation on Child Health Day, 2019

[Update]: Thanks to questions and discussion in Ricochet member Mister Bitcoin’s “question about presidential proclamations,” I believe the following might be helpful to our understanding. See a Heritage legal memorandum on the “use and abuse of executive orders and other presidential proclamations,” published February 2001.

Most presidential directives fit into one of two functional categories represented by the two types of directives issued by President Washington in 1789. One broad category includes documents with written instructions from the President to executive branch officials on how they are to carry out their duties. Most executive orders fall into this category. Another category includes written statements that communicate a presidential decision or declaration to a broad group of people that might include government officials, the general public, or even foreign governments. Most presidential proclamations fall into this second category.

Not much turns on even this distinction, however, because different types of directives can have the same effect. Some statutes delegating authority to the President provide that he must exercise that authority by issuing a particular type of directive–such as an executive order or a proclamation. But there is no statute or other authority that defines different presidential directives or distinguishes one type from another. Apart from tradition, historical usage, and a few words common to each device (such as the title), there are no rules regarding the substance of each directive. In short, a President can comply with a statute that requires him to make a particular statutory determination by proclamation simply by placing the word “Proclamation” at the top of the document and using a phrase like “it is hereby proclaimed” somewhere in the text before the determination.

In the current instance, since the president is communicating to not only his administration (the relevant bureaucracies), but also to the American people, foreign governments, and prospective visa applicants, calling this a “proclamation” makes sense. The Heritage memorandum, because it is almost two decades old, is helpful in outlining relevant legal tests without the strain of current politics.

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  1. DonG Coolidge

    baby steps.  Changes in law would be more persistent than executive orders.

    • #1
  2. TBA Coolidge

    DonG (View Comment):

    baby steps. Changes in law would be more persistent than executive orders.

    Agreed. But if we cannot achieve that, we can at least make the Dems own the change in EO by pointing out that they are letting in people who will be a drain. 

    • #2
  3. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    TBA (View Comment):

    DonG (View Comment):

    baby steps. Changes in law would be more persistent than executive orders.

    Agreed. But if we cannot achieve that, we can at least make the Dems own the change in EO by pointing out that they are letting in people who will be a drain.

    Not just the Democrats but also the Mitt Romney, George Bush, Paul Ryan Republicans.

    Additionally, I do not know that we need a change in the law, if there are portions of the existing law, passed back in the day to slide the bill past the American people, that have been conveniently unenforced. This may simply be a matter of making Congress own the results of the actual laws passed by more faithfully and fully carrying out existing provisions of the law.

    It may be that this is equivalent to moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

    • #3

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