Biden Pushes Welfare for Illegals

Posted on Monday, April 15, 2024
by Sam Adolphsen


President Biden's welfare policies are destroying the American economy

Historically, federal law has generally not allowed illegal immigrants to get taxpayer-funded welfare benefits. But that is now changing thanks to President Joe Biden.

It was with good reason that Bill Clinton signed a bipartisan welfare reform bill in 1996, championed by Speaker Newt Gingrich, that restricted which immigrants could gain access to programs like food stamps, cash welfare, and Medicaid. Even then, federal and state budgets were under strain from the growing number of legal and illegal immigrants taking advantage of American generosity.

Politicians from both parties knew then what anyone with common sense knows now: you cannot have an open border and a welfare state, as economist Milton Friedman once famously said.

But under Joe Biden, we have both. And worse still, his administration is doubling down.

While the Biden administration allows, accepts, and maybe even abets illegal immigration, they also have supercharged the welfare state, with significant increases in government handouts to able-bodied adults. Now, they want to make sure those handouts get straight into the outstretched hands of illegal immigrants, including millions who are single adults.

Biden has grown food stamp spending to new record levels, using unlawful administrative tactics that have increased inflation. Under President Trump, food stamp dependency and spending had fallen to 20-year lows. The bipartisan welfare reform in 1996 banned illegal immigrants from receiving food stamps. It’s unclear whether Biden still remembers this, but he himself voted in favor of the 1996 law, one of 24 Senate Democrats who supported the ban on welfare for illegal immigrants. Now, Biden is focused on repealing that restriction.

In 2021, Biden signed “Executive Order 13985: On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.” Pursuant to that order, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which oversees the food stamp program, recently released its “USDA Equity Commission” report. The report’s first recommendation for the food stamp program was to “remove eligibility restrictions on receipt based on immigration status.” This goes directly against the 1996 welfare reform.

In early April 2024, the Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services also finalized a regulation that explicitly bans states from double-checking citizenship information when someone is applying for Medicaid coverage. They also are barring states from limiting what are called “reasonable opportunity periods” for a non-citizen to produce information that would prove they are eligible for the program.

These changes serve an obvious purpose – to take tools away from states that can help prevent wrongful welfare payouts to illegal immigrants.

The administration also proposed another rule last year, again outside of the legislative process and strictly through rulemaking, to change the definition of “lawfully present” in order to expand Medicaid and other taxpayer-subsidized medical coverage to previously ineligible non-citizens. This rule hasn’t been finalized yet, but when it is, it will add hundreds of thousands of new non-citizens to taxpayer-funded welfare programs. That doesn’t even take into account the hundreds of thousands of non-Americans that Biden is “paroling” into the country, who will then become officially eligible for welfare in a few years.

Of course, even without these new Biden policies, and despite federal laws, Biden’s open borders have cost taxpayers billions through welfare programs at the state and federal levels.

Part of that cost is the result of existing requirement forcing states to cover “emergency” medical welfare for illegal aliens. Lefty states and pro-open borders advocates are constantly pushing for the definition of “emergency” to be expanded, creating loopholes that add more illegal border crossers into welfare programs.

Florida estimates they have been forced to pay at least half a billion dollars a year to cover this medical welfare for illegal aliens. If other states ran the same accounting, it would become clear how many billions are being spent across the country. That is to say nothing of the many states that have set up “state-funded” programs for illegal aliens like New York and California. Illinois gave away extra welfare to illegal aliens, too, and after racking up a quick billion in costs, they have had to scale those giveaways back.

But Joe Biden isn’t scaling back at all. He’s making sure anyone who scales what little border fence is left gets a welfare card when they hit the ground.

All this added spending in the Medicaid and Food Stamp programs significantly strains systems meant for the truly needy, including the critical Medicare and Social Security programs, which already face a tough road to stay stable amidst the $34 trillion national debt. Taxpayers can only bear so much burden before the system collapses, destroying the entire safety net.

Cleaning up Sloppy Joe’s mess by shutting down the border will be at the top of the priority list for the next president. Right after that, a new president will need to close the existing loopholes and immediately reverse these disastrous new Biden policies that expand welfare for illegal aliens. Anything less than a complete reform of these policies will result in total failure of the system.

Sam Adolphsen is the policy director at the Foundation for Government Accountability, and the former Chief Operating Officer for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services where he oversaw welfare eligibility and fraud investigations.

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