Citizenship In Question

Ethan Beaulieu
Staff Writer

opinions_ethan_immigration_picpedia_Nick Youngson

PC: Nick Youngson

It’s no secret that Trump has a vendetta against immigrants. From the very start of his campaign, he has painted them with the broadest of brushes, condemning them as criminals and rapists- even as dreaded “Bad Hombres.” Now, a proposal being developed by his administration takes a swing at not only the undocumented immigrants, but a significant portion of the documented immigrants as well. The rule, still a few weeks away from being finished, would not need congressional approval.

The proposal, headed by White House adviser Stephen Miller, could prevent documented immigrants from obtaining citizenship if they used popular aid programs such as Obamacare, public housing and food stamps. The change would be the largest to the legal immigration system in nearly twenty years, according to NBC news.

Documented immigrants who have up to this point been perfect applicants could now face a hard choice between taking advantage of much needed support, and a clear path to citizenship. People who have come to the United States in search of the fabled American dream will be hit with the sudden realization that the country they intend to make their home is unsupportive of their path to citizenship.

Undoubtedly, this would affect the lives of the nearly 37 million documented immigrants living in the United States. Some portions of public aid will still be excluded, such as disability insurance, public schools and Medicaid. It seems that the administration has forgotten the intention of government aid is not permanent assistance. Many aid programs require proof of attempts to get off of the program.

The majority of programs are simply a quick fix that serves as a way to keep your head above the water. As many families who receive government support can attest, government aid is not enough to single-handedly support you.

The proposal exemplifies the efforts by immigration hardliners to reverse Obama-era rules and policies. The new rule would certainly strike a hard contrast to the previous administration’s attempts to incorporate legal permanent residents into citizens. Administration officials depict the new policy as an enforcement of immigration laws and an effort to ensure that taxpayers’ money is well spent. The idea behind this is that immigrants are too dependent upon the system, serving as leeches on the citizens’ pockets. The idea that immigrants drain the system contrasts oddly from the fact that most aid programs aren’t available to non-citizens.

The long-term implication is that as fewer immigrants become naturalized citizens, the number of new voters will decrease. With most immigrants casting their ballots in favor of the democratic party, conservatives will see a slower stream of new opposition. While the effect may not be directly intentional, the Republican party is sure to benefit from the result. As the rule enters the final stages of completion, the future of low-income legal residents becomes uncertain, and for some, soon unobtainable.

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