President Donald Trump just got himself a standing ovation during a campaign rally after promising to pass a “new” immigration law — even though the same law already exists, and has for two decades.
On Wednesday, Trump held his fifth campaign-style rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he promised his supporters that he would “very shortly” pass a law that would ban immigrants from being eligible to receive welfare benefits for “at least five years.”
“The time has come for new immigration rules which say that those seeking admission into our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years,” Trump announced in front of the crowd at the U.S. Cellular Center in Iowa.
However, The Hill pointed out that such law is already in existence since 1996. Trump and his supporters appeared to be clueless about the “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996,” a legislation passed under the administration of former president Bill Clinton.
In the law, immigrants are “not eligible for any Federal means-tested public benefit” for a duration of five years, starting from the date of the immigrants’ entry in the country.
Such benefits include Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — also known as food stamps. The legislation also reiterated that there are some exceptions on benefits that immigrants are still qualified to get. These exceptions include certain medical assistance, “in-kind emergency disaster relief,” and public health assistances for some vaccines.
In addition, Cuban immigrants are exempted in the benefit delay since they automatically receive refugee status.
Meanwhile, CNN‘s Jeremy Diamond took to Twitter and revealed that a senior official of the White House wouldn’t deny that Trump’s proposed immigration already exists. However, the unnamed official insisted that the president is looking for a “broad overhaul,” adding that “a total rewrite of immigration system into a merit-based system for entry.”
Trump has been very vocal about his views on immigration policy. In fact, the president has long pushed for more aggressive measures to implement stricter immigration laws, such as his proposed plan to build a wall on the United States’ border with Mexico.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 22, 2017
During the same rally, Trump also defended the spectacularly wealthy cabinet that he put together. The president pointed out that he didn’t want a “poor person” dealing with economic issues under his administration.
Trump’s statement quickly drew various reactions online. While some find the remarks discriminating, others admire the president’s strategy of applying his “business success” to his administration.
It can be recalled that Trump assembled an “ultra-rich” cabinet mainly composed of billionaires such as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who is believed to be 10 times richer than former president George W. Bush. In fact, the president’s administration was tagged as “the wealthiest in modern American history.”
[Featured Image by Charlie Neibergall/AP Images]