Trump Said Sponsors Will Pay U.S. Back for Welfare Benefits Given to Immigrants. It’s About To Happen.

On May 28, President Trump published a “Presidential Memorandum” to help enforce a policy requiring financial sponsors of immigrants to reimburse the government for benefits received by the aliens. On Friday, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service reminded immigrants and their sponsors, Trump wasn’t joking. “If the sponsored immigrant receives any federal means-tested public benefits, the sponsor will be expected to reimburse the benefits-granting agency for every dollar of benefits received by the immigrant,” USCIS tweeted.


“These laws also require that, when an alien applies for certain means-tested public benefits, the financial resources of the alien’s sponsor must be counted as part of the alien’s financial resources in determining both eligibility for the benefits and the amount of benefits that may be awarded,” it stated. “Financial sponsors who pledge to financially support the sponsored alien in the event the alien applies for or receives public benefits will be expected to fulfill their commitment under law.” But while that had been the law for some time, Trump’s memorandum was published to ensure the law was, in fact, being followed by federal agencies. “Currently, agencies are not adequately enforcing these requirements,” the memorandum stated. “Some agencies have insufficient procedures and guidance for implementing these reimbursements and deeming requirements of the immigration laws.”

The process looks like this. First, many applicants for permanent residency into America must have a sponsor — often a family member in the U.S. legally. Second, that sponsor guarantees via affidavit to support the alien financially. That affidavit is a legally binding contract between the government and the sponsor. What was happening is that the affidavits were not resulting in recovered money and federal agencies were either unwilling or unable to take action against sponsors.

A lack of enforcement always leads to a lack of taking the law seriously. But now, in case the sponsors — and the immigrants — have forgotten, USCIS used its tweet above as a reminder that federal agencies are taking action to comply with Trump’s May memoranda. This is an important step in the direction of fiscal responsibility.

Immigrants use welfare at statistically higher rates than the rest of the population, according to a study by the Center for Immigration Studies. “If one assumes that immigration is supposed to benefit the country, then immigrant welfare use should be much lower than natives’,” the CIS report stated. “Instead,… two decades after welfare reform tried to curtail immigrant eligibility, immigrant-headed households are using welfare at much higher rates than native households for most programs.” If the United States is really going to find a workable immigration reform solution, requiring financial responsibility for sponsors and immigrants and then enforcing those policies must be a fundamental proposition.