For centuries, immigrants came to America to make their fortunes through hard work. While they often relied on existing ethnic or faith communities for help finding housing and jobs, they had no expectation that the federal government would provide them with the basics of life.
It went against the grain of American values that anyone newly arrived would immediately depend on the state for their needs. Now, with the growth of a tremendously expensive welfare state, it’s financially foolish to open our nation’s doors to people lacking the means to support themselves.
That’s why our immigration law sensibly provides that any person who looks like they would be a “public charge”—i.e. need handouts from the get-go—would be ineligible for a visa.
Today, however, the public charge rule is practically worthless, watered down through regulation. The law says that “any alien who… at the time of application for a visa, or… for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.”
That’s pretty clear: if a visa applicant looks to be a certain drain on U.S. public funds, into which they’ve never paid a dime, they don’t get a visa.
However, in 2022, the Department of Homeland Security defined “likely at any time to become a public charge” as “likely at any time to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance or long-term institutionalization at government expense.”
This means that immigrants can still take a raft of federal, state and local benefits yet not be judged ineligible for a visa. I’ve processed thousands of immigrant visas and almost none were refused under the public charge ineligibility.
Moreover, the public charge rule has become so riddled with exceptions that it’s like using chicken wire as a mosquito net.
Here are some of the immigrants that are exempt from the public charge rule when they apply for visas to enter the U.S. or to change their immigration status:
“Asylees and refugees; Amerasians; Afghans and Iraqis employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government, Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and other Central Americans who are adjusting status to permanent residence (getting their ‘green card’); religious minorities from the former Soviet Union; special immigrant juveniles; illegal immigrants who’ve been living here since 1972 and are ‘of good moral character’;
“Applicants seeking Temporary Protected Status; surviving spouses, children, or parents of military members; American Indians born in Canada; members of the Texas Band of Kickapoo Indians; certain nationals of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos; Polish and Hungarian Parolees; certain Syrian nationals; and applicants adjusting under the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF) law.”
We’re still not done, though. Even though they must still submit an affidavit of support (which are as worthless as a Confederate dollar) the following are also exempt from public charge:
“Aliens who have a pending application for a victims of human trafficking (T) or victims of qualifying crime (U) visa), whether or not the claim has any merit); aliens who self-petition under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA); and aliens who claim they have been “battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by a family member in the United States” (again, whether or not that turns out to be true).
Oh—and there’s one more category excluded from the public charge rule intended to protect U.S. taxpayers from unlimited liability: every single one of the inadmissible aliens that the Biden administration has let into the country since January 2021. That exception is important, as we’re talking millions of illegal immigrants here, and they’re still coming (just ask Mayor Adams in New York, orMayor Johnson in Chicago).
The parallel immigration system of Biden parole-based programs, which bring in illegal aliens on the pretext that they are asylum applicants, does not require anything of those it brings in, and does not reject anyone on the basis that they will require significant taxpayer support, perhaps for life.
Assuming these parolees ever apply for asylum at all, which many don’t, there is no fee charged for the entire process. Being dependent on city, state or federal handouts is never an impediment. This is also true for people released pending deportation hearings, who might be in that limbo for over a decade before a decision (which in around 85% of cases, is a rejection of their claim for asylum) is handed down.
Biden’s open borders are a blank check written on the backs of the already-groaning taxpayer. One wonders how many more straws that camel can take.
This piece originally appeared in Fox News