Trump Draft Executive Order Targets Aliens Who Are ‘Public Charges’
Draft policy would deny admission to any alien who is likely to live on public assistance, could impact the entry of residents of the Freely Associated States to the US
By Giff Johnson
MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Marianas Variety, February 13, 2017) – President Donald Trump is expected to issue an executive order that could affect the entry of residents of the Freely Associated States or FAS to the United States, as well as those currently living in the United States and its territories.
The draft executive order, published by the Washington Post, aims to “ensure the United States does not welcome individuals who are likely to become or have become a burden on taxpayers.” It also targets what it calls “birth tourism” — people who travel to the U.S. to give birth so their children gain U.S. citizenship.
Over the past two years, Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo has voiced increasing concern over the large number of FAS citizens who have stretched Guam social service funding to the “breaking point” and has also engaged in commuting sentences of convicted felons and sending them home, mainly to the Federated States of Micronesia.
Trump’s draft executive order would direct numerous agencies of the U.S. federal government to focus on identifying aliens resident in the U.S. who are “public charges” — meaning living on welfare and related programs — as well as establish policies for evaluating the self-sufficiency of non-U.S. citizens arriving in the U.S.
“Households headed by aliens (legal and illegal) are much more likely than households headed by native-born citizens to use federal means-tests public benefits,” states Trump’s draft executive order. “Our immigration laws must be enforced in a manner that achieves the goal of protecting our taxpayers and promoting self-sufficiency.”
FAS citizens are granted visa-free access to the United States under a Compact of Free Association. Once in the U.S., they are eligible for some of the state and federal public assistance programs for low income residents.
The new executive order would fulfill several of Trump’s campaign promises related to immigration. Actions proposed include:
• Directing the Office of Management and Budget to compile a report detailing how the federal government will save $100 billion by ensuring that aliens receive only public benefits that they are eligible to receive, and that sponsors of aliens fulfill their obligations to reimburse the government for the cost of welfare benefits provided to such aliens.
• Requiring the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department to establish new standards and regulations for determining when aliens will become subject to the “public charge” grounds of inadmissibility and deportation. The draft specifically states the criteria as “their likelihood of requiring public assistance after being admitted to the United States.”
• Directing DHS and the State Department to submit a report on the efforts that they are taking to combat the birth-tourism phenomenon.
The new draft order states clearly that it is U.S. government policy to “deny admission to any alien who is likely to become a public charge,” and “identify and remove, as expeditiously as possible, any alien who has become a public charge and is subject to removal.”
Once it is officially issued, the Department of Homeland Security will be directed to generate “standards for determining which aliens are inadmissible or deportable on public-charge grounds, and that specifies that an alien is inadmissible as a public charge if he is likely to receive, and is deportable as a public charge if he does receive, public benefits for which eligibility or the amount is determined in any way on the basis of income, resources or financial need.”
The Department of Homeland Security will also be required, “Within 270 days of the date of this order, to submit to the president a report in consultation with the secretary of State and the governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, describing steps taken to combat the problem of ‘birth tourism,’ whereby individuals travel for the purpose of giving birth in the United States.”
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