Trump Builds Immigration System That Doesn't Sap U.S. Wealth

Trump Builds Immigration System That Doesn't Sap U.S. Wealth
AP Photo/Astrid Galvan, File
Trump Builds Immigration System That Doesn't Sap U.S. Wealth
AP Photo/Astrid Galvan, File
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President Trump just took another crucial step toward restoring sanity to our immigration system and making sure it works to America’s benefit rather than draining our country’s wealth. 

In a recent memorandum, the president ordered authorities to enforce a Clinton-era law that required sponsors of welfare-dependent legal immigrants to reimburse the government for the benefits they receive. That law also requires the government to consider the income of a sponsor when a legal immigrant applies for welfare. 

"To protect benefits for American citizens, immigrants must be financially self-sufficient," President Trump said in announcing the plan, making the common-sense point that even establishment politicians have acknowledged for decades. 

The president is right, and the numbers prove it. According to a 2018 report from the Center for Immigration Studies, some 63% of “non-citizen households” access welfare programs of some kind — compared to only 35% of “native-headed households.” 

Legal immigration is supposed to help, not burden, the U.S. economy — which is precisely why the Trump administration is fighting tooth and nail to reform our broken immigration system, which starts with enforcing our existing laws. 

The president also recently announced another initiative to enhance the benefits of legal immigration, touting a merit-based system that would favor high-skilled immigrants who can help to ensure that America remains competitive on the world stage. 

“Only 12% of legal immigrants are selected based on skill or based on merit,” President Trump pointed out. “… The biggest change we make is to increase the proportion of highly skilled immigration from 12% to 57%, and we'd like to even see if we can go higher.” 

The proposal also includes provisions to make sure that we aren’t just letting companies import foreigners to replace American workers. 

“Priority will also be given to higher-wage workers, ensuring we never undercut American labor,” he added. “To protect benefits for American citizens, immigrants must be financially self-sufficient.” 

Notably, President Trump’s effort to shrink the financial burden of immigration also extends to illegal immigrants — and for good reason. 

According to a 2017 study from the Federation for American Immigration Reform, illegal immigration costs U.S. taxpayers approximately $116 billion per year — a jaw-dropping figure that will only continue to grow if we fail to secure the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Distressingly, the cost is astronomical despite the fact that illegal immigrants aren’t even legally allowed to claim federal welfare benefits. Due to our broken immigration system, however, illegal immigrants are able to enjoy benefits such as housing assistance and food stamps through their native-born children. 

Illegal immigration also fuels the illegal drug trade, including the ongoing opioid crisis that kills tens of thousands of Americans every year and cost the U.S. more than $500 billion in 2015 alone. Drug trafficking also funds the violent Mexican drug cartels that are currently waging a brutally violent war against civilized society, as well as gangs such as MS-13 that terrorize American communities. 

While the Democrats often complain that President Trump’s border wall is “too expensive” for America, CIS concluded that “the fiscal savings from having fewer illegal immigrants in the country would be sufficient to cover the costs of the wall,” even if it only managed to stop “a small fraction of the illegal immigrants who are expected to come in the next decade.” 

For far too long, the political establishment in Washington has done nothing to curb the staggering cost of undocumented migrants, or even address any of the obvious failures to enforce our own immigration laws. 

Luckily for America, President Trump is committed to fixing every aspect of our broken system, and he demonstrated that once again by taking steps to ensure that we only allow people to come here if they are willing and able to contribute to our common goal of making America great. 

Brandon Judd is the president of the National Border Patrol Council, the exclusive labor representative of approximately 16,000 Border Patrol agents.

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