According to information released by Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee Jeff Sessions, the current Gang of 8 immigration reform proposal includes a major flaw that could lead to taxpayers footing the bill for trillions of dollars worth of federal welfare benefits for millions of illegal immigrants.
"Specifically, there is nothing in the framework to apply federal public charge law to those in the country illegally before they are granted legal status. What this means is that the bill would create an end-run around federal law: individuals in the country illegally could receive legal status without having to demonstrate financial self-sufficiency," a press release states. "It appears that—by virtue of entering the country illegally—individuals will be able to obtain a form of legal status without going through the screening process created for legal immigrants as required by statute."
The statute referred to is Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) which states, "An alien who, in the opinion of the consular officer at the time of application for a visa, or in the opinion of the Attorney General at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible."
But will a green card and citizenship for millions of illegals solve the problem? Hardly.
"This flaw will not be rectified merely by relying on existing law when illegal immigrants apply for green cards. An investigation conducted by the Ranking Members of four Senate committees has revealed that the Obama Administration does not adhere to the statutory requirement that they determine whether applicants for admission to the country will be a public charge. Moreover, it is estimated that 1 in 3 immigrant-headed households currently participate in at least one major welfare program," the release states. "To be effective, any immigration reform must therefore ensure that a reliable public charge standard is being applied for all immigrants, legal and illegal, and that any incentive to immigrate illegally in order to receive public benefits is removed. This is a fundamental protection for taxpayers and a core legal and economic principle of immigration common to virtually all nations."
UPDATE: Alex Conant, Republican Senator Marco Rubio's press secretary, has issued the following statement to Townhall. Rubio is part of the Gang of 8.
“Since we don’t yet have a legislative proposal, it’s not possible to come up with anything resembling an accurate calculation about the potential fiscal impact of bipartisan immigration reform. Obviously we share concerns about the potential fiscal impact of changes to our immigration system, which is why we will ask for an in-depth CBO analysis to inform debate around the bipartisan proposal. Senator Rubio has been clear that he will only support legislation that prohibits undocumented immigrants from receiving any Federal benefits, and in our negotiations, the Democrats have gone along with that demand – even agreeing to a partial repeal of Obamacare to bar undocumented immigrants benefits. In the long-term, there’s no question that modernizing our broken legal immigration will be very good for our nation’s economy.”