President Donald Trump is asking Congress for new immigration policies that would prohibit new immigrants from going on welfare programs during their first five years in the country.
The president called for the policy during a speech in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Wednesday evening, Fox News reported.
“The time has come for new immigration rules that say … those seeking immigration into our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years,” Trump said.
A Center for Immigration Studies report found 51 percent of legal and illegal immigrant households used at least one welfare program in 2012. Fox News reported the White House would cite the report, which also found that immigrant households use food programs and Medicaid about twice as often as native households.
A more recent report found the average legal and illegal immigrant household costs taxpayers $6,234 in federal welfare benefits each year.
Barring immigrants from welfare programs for five years would add to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. The Bill Clinton-era law allowed for the deportation of immigrants who became dependent on federal welfare programs within five years.
“Many of that law’s provisions were rolled back during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, but Trump’s proposal would make more categories of federal benefits off-limits to immigrants,” Fox reported.
The appearances occurred during Trump’s “Technology Week”, which he kicked off by meeting with tech leaders invited to join his American Technology Council. In Cedar Rapids, he toured agricultural facilities, followed by giving a speech at the U.S. Cellular Center. His focus was on helping businesses grow and discussing how technology can help with food production, harvesting, and marketing.