Saturday, 7 Dec 2019

Opinion | A Wealth Test for U.S. Citizenship

To the Editor:

Re “Policy Lets U.S. Reject the Poor for Green Cards” (front page, Aug. 13):

Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, the acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, claims that the administration’s new “public charge rule” reinforces the ideals of self-sufficiency by ensuring that those seeking lawful permanent status “can stand on their own two feet.”

This justification might seem rational if legal immigrants consumed the vast majority of public benefits, but they do not. The libertarian Cato Institute reported in 2018 that “immigrants are less likely to consume welfare benefits and, when they do, they generally consume a lower dollar value of benefits than native-born Americans.”

In a nation in which immigrants constitute 17 percent of the work force, have a lower unemployment rate than native-born citizens and contribute billions to the economy every year, the new rule must be seen for what it really is: a racist assault on the country’s most vulnerable residents — low-income immigrant families — that is meant to instill fear and undermine their access to the most basic health and social services.

For the sake of the economy, this is poor policy. For the sake of humanity, it’s just cruel.

Elizabeth Arend
Washington
The writer works for the Primary Care Coalition in Montgomery County, Md., which provides services to low-income immigrants.

To the Editor:

People rarely decide to leave their home countries if they are comfortably situated. It is too hard to leave home, family, friends, culture and language unless there is a “push” factor like persecution, poverty, war or fear. These people, who need the chance to start anew, are the ones that the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant fervor will seek to exclude by denying them permanent residency if they partake in public benefits.

Newcomers often need help to get their lives restarted and to get jobs. Now the proposed restriction of that help will doom them to permanent exclusion from a path to citizenship.

Not only does this draconian policy directly contradict the message inscribed on our Statue of Liberty, but it also raises uncomfortable connections to the past. In the 1930s and early ’40s, as European Jews were seeking a safe place far from Nazi persecution, the State Department instructed American consulates to strictly enforce the LPC (likely to become a public charge) requirement.

Potential immigrants had to line up substantial commitments of support or sponsorship before their visa applications were granted. This requirement helped to serve the broader agenda of making it particularly difficult for Jews to immigrate. These Jews included my maternal grandparents, who were among the six million Jews the Nazis murdered.

While the situation then and now is not comparable in all aspects, it is a grim reminder of what hate of the other can mean.

Martha Holstein
Chicago

To the Editor:

What’s wrong with an immigration policy that favors self-sufficient newcomers? These immigrants can contribute Day 1 versus newcomers who will need significant taxpayer assistance to get on their feet.

If money were free, if this country didn’t have its own citizens who are poor and in need of public aid, no economic filter would be needed. But that’s not the case.

Liberals who irresponsibly champion liberalism for its own sake, with no nod to practical matters, have led to Donald Trump in the White House. And may do it again.

Phoebe Huang
Stonington, Conn.

To the Editor:

This country welcomed my grandparents a century ago with almost no public assistance. Millions of us are offspring of ancestors who arrived very poor, getting support from relatives and private agencies, but little government help.

Should these new regulations take effect, I hope that warm hearts will do the same to help today’s immigrants, undercutting the goal of these regulations.

Charles Merrill
New York

To the Editor:

Now that President Trump has decided to reject poor immigrants, shouldn’t he return the Statue of Liberty to the French?

David Greenstein
New York

Source: Read Full Article

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