Radical Idea: Immigrants Should Support Themselves
It’s been 37 years since I sat in an immigration office in a foreign country and begged permission to live and work there.
An unsettling experience. Especially when you’re an American and you just assume the world wants you.
News flash: they don’t.
In order to live in Ireland I had to demonstrate that I could find a job without displacing an Irish worker. And I had to show a bank account with sufficient funds to support myself if I didn’t.
I would be working as a freelance journalist, writing from an American perspective, so I was able to jump through the first hoop. I had several thousand dollars in an American bank account. Enough, barely, to get me through the second.
After extensive interviews and paperwork I was legal. A resident alien. No, I didn’t mind the “alien” moniker. I was familiar with the English language and knew what it meant.
Two things would get me deported in a hurry, I was told by the stern immigration official in Dublin Castle. An arrest. For anything. And applying for the “dole.” Oh, and I had to keep my papers on me at all times and notify the government within 48 hours whenever I changed addresses.
Seemed reasonable to me. I was a guest in another country. They got to make the rules.
Ireland, after all, had lots of homegrown poor people. The last thing the government needed was foreigners coming in, looking for handouts from the hard-working citizens. Or snatching their jobs.
Which brings us to the U.S. where we take about 1 million immigrants a year and tens of thousands of poor refugees and asylum seekers. Beyond that, our border with Mexico is overrun with asylum seekers and people simply trying to enter the country illegally. More than 535,000 illegal immigrants were apprehended by Border Patrol agents in the first six months of this year alone.
Yesterday the government announced that visa holders who were on America’s version of the dole - food stamps - would likely not be eligible for green cards or to stay permanently in the U.S. It’s a broadening of a current regulation - instituted in 1882, don’t blame Trump - called the “public charge” rule. Essentially it frowns upon allowing people to remain in the country who are likely to be long-term dependents on American taxpayers.
There are plenty of exceptions: The new rules will not apply to refugees, asylum seekers or pregnant women with children, for example. It will also not apply to those whose kids have free or reduced lunches at school. Neither will it apply to those who depend on Medicaid or CHIP, the children’s health insurance program.
According to CBS, Immigration authorities currently ask green card applicants to prove they won't be a burden on the country, but the new regulation, if enacted, would require caseworkers to consider the use of government housing, food and medical assistance such as the widely-used Section 8 housing vouchers and (food stamps).
Naturally the open borders crew is collectively losing its mind over the notion that those who come here on temporary visas ought to support themselves like everyone else.
Then again, as they up the ante on government freebies, Democratic presidential hopefuls want all of us riding the government gravy train. They want us on government-provided health care and taking advantage of “free” government-provided college educations. One candidate wants to give everyone $1,000 a month, another wants government to pay for child care and yet another wants the government to pay your rent if it’s more than 30 percent of your income.
At least they’re consistent.