Complexity Underscores Exec Order Immigration Policy Efforts

Complexity Underscores Exec Order Immigration Policy EffortsWith a flurry of executive orders issued in just the first couple of weeks in office, the new president’s efforts on immigration policy are riddled with complexities.

According to reports on yet another immigration executive orders, that track record of complexity could very well continue and become even more entangled.

While President Trump’s efforts have so far focused largely on keeping undocumented immigrants out of the United States, the latest reported proposed executive order targets resident immigrants who receive federal assistance designed to curtail the “intentional abuse of American social service programs,” according to The Washington Post.

The language used in the draft of the order under discussion with administration officials “portrays immigrants generally as a drain on the American taxpayer.” If the president signs the order in its current reported draft form, the bill would require:

  • More stringent efforts in identifying and excluding potential immigrants likely to require certain types of public aid and deporting those already in the United States who receive public help.
  • Reduce fraud by requiring federal officials to limit immigrants to “only the public benefits they are eligible to receive” to bring about an estimated savings to the government of $100 billion
  • Impose reimbursement requirements for those individuals who legally pledged support to particular immigrants who receive public assistance
  • Require social service agencies to report immigrant benefit recipients to federal authorities

“The effort, as described, appears to want to reduce immigrants’ impact on American taxpayers and the workforce,” according to the story in The Washington Post.

One particular sticking point on the proposal to limit immigrant access to public services is that many immigrant families living in the United States are a blend of documented and undocumented individuals.

“It’s philosophy seems to be to smudge out the old distinction that governed conservative immigration policy between those who are here legally and those who are not,” according to a commenting article in The New Yorker. The article’s author goes on to state that under Trump policy, the conservative distinction opens to extending to whether or not individuals were born in the United States– regardless of legal status.

Tanya Broder, a senior staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, responded to news of the possible new executive order by urging Trump officials to remain cognoscente of the 5.1 million children living in the United States with a parent who is an undocumented immigrant. More than 70 percent of these children are U.S. citizens.

“The reality is that immigrants and citizens live together, work together and inhabit the same communities and neighborhoods,” says Broder, whose practice focuses on policies surrounding health care, public education and aid.  

Sworn into office on January 20, by the end of the month, President Trump had already signed 19 executive orders. Three of these orders touch on immigrants and immigration– border wall construction, federal defunding of sanctuary cities and travel restrictions for citizens of terror-linked countries where abilities around vetting processes are considered substandard.

Particularly in the case of the order focused on travel restrictions for citizens of the relevant countries in the Middle East and North Africa, chaos and confusion ensued. Most notably, officials’ initial read of the order extended to green card holders from those countries, some of whom had already endured a years-long wait in gaining legal permanent residency— a green card– into the United States.