Fencing Off an Attractive Nuisance


People have been choosing to take some risk and expense to come to this country, rather than others closer to their home country, in part because our federal government, with the collusion of both major party establishments, allowed access to our social welfare system. It took President Trump to finally uphold our written laws, finally getting the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice personnel in place who would not continue resisting American law and the policy preferences of a presidential electoral majority.

On Friday, a short statement from the Press Secretary thanked the Supreme Court for doing the right thing and noting the new DHS rule on immigrants’ access to welfare programs will go into force this Monday.

Statement from the Press Secretary

IMMIGRATION | Issued on: February 22, 2020

We are gratified by the Supreme Court ruling on Friday night lifting the final remaining injunction on the public charge regulation. As a result, the Department of Homeland Security will be able to implement its regulation on Monday. This final rule will protect hardworking American taxpayers, safeguard welfare programs for truly needy Americans, reduce the Federal deficit, and re-establish the fundamental legal principle that newcomers to our society should be financially self-reliant and not dependent on the largess of United States taxpayers.

Chief Justice Roberts voted with the constitutionalist wing of the court, countering lower courts’ lawfare against President Trump and his voters. The Second and Seventh Circuit Courts of Appeal must still rule on the two cases, Department of Homeland Security v. New York, and Wolf v. Cook County. The two stays on lower court injunctions do not guarantee that the president will win when the two cases are heard together by the Supreme Court, but what is at issue, on the surface, is the right of an agency to publish new guidance on what public benefits are to be considered in immigration application decisions.

Most Americans would be astonished at the old rule, which persisted across the George W. Bush (surprise, surprise), and Barack Obama administrations. Consider a sympathetic telling of how things were in Justice Sotomayor’s dissent to the majority opinion in Wolf v. Cook County [emphasis added].

This case concerns a provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act that renders inadmissible any noncitizen who “is likely at any time to become a public charge.” 8 U. S. C. §1182(a)(4)(A). The provision instructs immigration officers to consider, “at a minimum,” a person’s “age; health; family status; assets, resources, and financial status; and education and skills” in determining inadmissibility on this “public charge” basis. §1182(a)(4)(B). For the last 20 years, field guidance has defined “public charge” as a person “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence.” 64 Fed. Reg. 28689 (1999) (internal quotation marks omitted). Per that guidance, immigration officers were not to consider non-cash public benefits in deciding whether a noncitizen met that definition.

In August 2019, the Department of Homeland Security issued a regulation that changed this longstanding definition. This new regulation (the public-charge rule) now defines a “public charge” as “an alien who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period (such that, for instance, receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months).” 84 Fed. Reg. 41292, 41295. The regulation also expands the type of benefits that may render a noncitizen inadmissible, including non-cash benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps), most forms of Medicaid, and various forms of housing assistance. Ibid.

Are we really to believe that there are judges who do not understand that “non-cash” public benefits have real, cash, value? Is an EBT (food stamp) card a magic wand, or does it carry a certain dollar amount, debited with each transaction at the grocery or convenience store? Is medical care provided by fairies or flesh and blood medical personnel with real supplies in real facilities? Is “housing assistance” in the form of free hobbit holes on the Big Rock Candy Mountain?* The Bush and Obama administrations made a mockery of the American public in this policy area.

The new rule is published in the Federal Register as 84 FR 41292, “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds,” with corrections to the text published as 84 FR 52357, “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds; Correction.” The summary of the new rule makes clear that the rule is quite modest, not at all draconian. Indeed, many immigration hawks may be frustrated at the rule’s limited scope. Here it is, with emphasis added:

This final rule amends DHS regulations by prescribing how DHS will determine whether an alien applying for admission or adjustment of status is inadmissible to the United States under section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA or the Act), because he or she is likely at any time to become a public charge. The final rule includes definitions of certain terms critical to the public charge determination, such as “public charge” and “public benefit,” which are not defined in the statute, and explains the factors DHS will consider in the totality of the circumstances when making a public charge inadmissibility determination. The final rule also addresses USCIS’ authority to issue public charge bonds under section 213 of the Act in the context of applications for adjustment of status. Finally, this rule includes a requirement that aliens seeking an extension of stay or change of status demonstrate that they have not, since obtaining the nonimmigrant status they seek to extend or change, received public benefits over the designated threshold, as defined in this rule.

This rule does not create any penalty or disincentive for past, current, or future receipt of public benefits by U.S. citizens or aliens whom Congress has exempted from the public charge ground of inadmissibility. This rule does not apply to U.S. citizens, even if the U.S. citizen is related to an alien subject to the public charge ground of inadmissibility. The rule also does not apply to aliens whom Congress exempted from the public charge ground of inadmissibility (such as asylees, refugees, or other vulnerable populations listed as exempt in this final rule). Nor does this rule apply to aliens for whom DHS has statutory discretion to waive this ground of inadmissibility, if DHS has exercised such discretion.

In addition, this includes special provisions for how DHS will consider the receipt of public benefits, as defined in this rule, by certain members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families; certain international adoptees; and receipt of Medicaid in certain contexts, especially by aliens under the age of 21, pregnant women (and women for up to 60 days after giving birth), and for certain services funded by Medicaid under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or in a school setting. Aliens who might qualify for these exemptions should study the rule carefully to understand how the exemptions work.

This final rule also clarifies that DHS will only consider public benefits received directly by the alien for the alien’s own benefit, or where the alien is a listed beneficiary of the public benefit. DHS will not consider public benefits received on behalf of another. DHS also will not attribute receipt of a public benefit by one or more members of the alien’s household to the alien unless the alien is also a listed beneficiary of the public benefit.

This final rule supersedes the 1999 Interim Field Guidance on Deportability and Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds.

Did you know that Congress had made up special rules for favored “vulnerable” groups to become dependent on the U.S federal government years before they become citizens, learning to expect food, shelter and medical care from American taxpayers? No wonder people trek thousands of miles across other countries to claim “refugee” status here. Of course, the Congress and various non-governmental organizations with big dollar or political stakes in this game do not accept any responsibility for the harms that befall women and children along the way here, drawn by the attractive nuisance of the Big Rock Candy Mountain.**

* No, not the Big Rock Candy Mountain Resort in Utah.

** A song first recorded in 1928 by Harry “Mac” McClintock:

Most of us got to know the song with child-friendly lyrics, and even the earliest recording left off the verse McClintock related as the original concluding lines, telling of sexual predation on the road. Today, the advocates of open borders omit the darker parts of the “refugee” story, including the age-old problem of sexual predation.

Published in Immigration
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There are 7 comments.

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  1. RightAngles Member

    Most Americans would be astonished at the old rule, which persisted across the George W. Bush (surprise, surprise), and Barack Obama administrations.

    I can still remember the first time I heard Bush say “compassionate Conservatism,” and it still makes me cringe.

    • #1
  2. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey

    Packed with surprising information, delivered with a mixture of dark amusement and disdain; another classic Clifford A. Brown mindbuilder. 

    • #2
  3. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Most Americans would be astonished at the old rule, which persisted across the George W. Bush (surprise, surprise), and Barack Obama administrations.

    I can still remember the first time I heard Bush say “compassionate Conservatism,” and it still makes me cringe.

    I don’t see how you can take it so calmly. I have to use a fire extinguisher on myself when that term comes to mind. But I’m glad we now have a President who has the strength of character and sufficient human empathy not to use it.

    • #3
  4. Stad Coolidge

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Most Americans would be astonished at the old rule, which persisted across the George W. Bush (surprise, surprise), and Barack Obama administrations.

    I can still remember the first time I heard Bush say “compassionate Conservatism,” and it still makes me cringe.

    Made me cringe too.  By saying that, Bush confirmed to many on the left in what they believe, that conservatism wasn’t compassionate to begin with.

    • #4
  5. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge
    DonG (skeptic)

    Sort of seems relevant.  I guess the Trump administration is making it harder for people to get a tax-payer funder check because they unable to do most non-sedentary work and don’t know English and are over 45.  from here.  


    Some Non-English Speakers Would Lose Disability Benefits Under SSA Proposal

    By Andy Jones

    The Social Security Administration (SSA) is proposing to make it more difficult for people who don’t speak English to qualify for disability benefits. 

    Under planned regulations released February 01, 2019, the SSA would no longer consider a person’s “inability to communicate in English” when reviewing applications, both for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

    The SSA estimates that the move will cut the disability rolls by more than 10,000 non-English speaking claimants. 

    Existing regulations further specify that the SSA only considers a person’s ability to communicate in English where the applicant is age 45 or older, on the assumption that it is more difficult for older individuals to become fluent in English and thus become employable. 

    • #5
  6. Ralphie Inactive

    It is infuriating that there are Judges that make fiduciary decisions that don’t understand money.

    • #6
  7. kedavis Member

    Not being able to speak/understand English was actually considered a “disability?”  Wow.  I thought it was bad enough that people who get themselves all messed up by drugs and/or alcohol, might qualify because of what they did to themselves.




    • #7
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