Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) uncovered a loop hole in the Gang of Eight immigration bill that would allow illegal aliens to access state and local welfare benefits immediately, according to a press release issued by his office.
"The Gang of Eight’s proposal would grant green cards and citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants, providing them with guaranteed access to all welfare and entitlement programs," Sen. Sessions said. "Sponsors of the legislation have not denied this fact, but simply replied that illegal immigrants will not become officially eligible for taxpayer-funded aid for 13 years.
"However, several loopholes have been identified that reveal many illegal immigrants will gain access to public benefits far sooner than the 13-year timeframe advertised."
Sen. Sessions listed five ways that amnestied illegal aliens could receive welfare benefits while in provisional status.
- Illegal immigrants granted registered provisional immigrant (RPI) status could immediately become eligible for state and local public benefits in many states. This is because state laws frequently extend benefits including cash assistance, food assistance, and health care to anyone "lawfully present" in the U.S. The legislation explicitly forbids DHS from considering whether an illegal immigrant is financially self-sufficient when that alien first applies for RPI status.Therefore, when those here illegally who are unable to support themselves are legalized, much of the immediate fiscal burden will fall on state and local governments.
- Those granted RPI status will immediately become eligible for federal benefits through citizen and permanent resident dependents, with no requirement that they support their household as a condition of receiving or maintaining legal status.
- The expansive DREAM Act provisions are open to illegal immigrants of any age and provide citizenship in as little as five years to potentially 2--3 million individuals who will become eligible for nearly all federal assistance.
- Agriculture workers will get green cards in five years and become citizens in 10. Due to income and education levels, legalized ag workers would likely have higher rates of welfare use and receive more in net benefits from Medicare and Social Security than they contribute.
- Households headed by illegal immigrants will quickly become eligible for benefits through chain migration as well. And, because DREAM beneficiaries will be able to bring in parents, children, and spouses not subject to caps, net household benefits will increase substantially.
You can read Sen. Sessions full release on his Senate website.