President Trump called for the enforcement of laws that prevent immigrants from receiving welfare until five years after they arrive in the U.S.
Immigrants "must be able to support themselves financially," the president said at an Iowa rally Wednesday.
The average federal welfare benefits of immigrant-headed households, legal or illegal, is $6,234, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.
Average federal welfare benefits - immigrant-headed households. pic.twitter.com/VQZy72OtmI
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Fifty-one percent of immigrant-headed households used at least one welfare program in 2012, as compared to 30 percent of native households, the Center reported.
The president was actually only reiterating an ill-enforced 1996 law.
The ‘‘Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996’’ declares immigrants “not eligible for any Federal means-tested public benefit for a period of 5 years beginning on the date of the alien’s entry.”
"This is the humane way to go," Steve Forbes said on "The Cost of Freedom." He said that welfare reform in the 1990s worked, and the country should hearken back to that system.
Budget Director Mick Mulvaney echoed Trump's sentiments in May when he rejected the idea that government welfare is the only way to show compassion.
"We're no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs, but by the number of people we help get off of those programs," Mulvaney said.