President Trump's latest immigration proposal is proving popular, if not original. During his rally in Iowa last week, the president called for banning all immigrants to the U.S. from receiving welfare benefits for five years upon arrival. Now, a Rasmussen poll shows 62 percent of likely voters agree with that idea. But there's just one issue. "It's a wonderful idea, but the problem is it has already been on the law books for over 20 years, it already is federal law," says Alex Nowrasteh, immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute.
Nowrasteh tells KTRH that, while President Trump's basic idea is already law, there is still much that can be done on the issue of immigrant welfare benefits. "If the president wants to make those laws more strict--make it apply to more classes of people, make it so that you can't get welfare until you become a citizen--those are great changes," he says. "But the thing (Trump) talked about, which is a five-year ban on people getting welfare, is already law in the United States."
Since taking office, President Trump has called for big changes to both illegal immigration enforcement and the legal immigration system. Based on recent polls, he seems to have solid support among the public. One survey showed nearly 45 percent support Trump's idea to switch America to a merit-based immigration system, and 76 percent of those surveyed by Rasmussen believe illegal immigrants should never get welfare.
Nowrasteh believes the president is on the right track, but has a better idea. "I would advise him to support a law that says nobody can get any means-tested welfare in the United States until they become a citizen, no matter how long it takes them to become a citizen," he says. "By doing that, you'll build a much higher and better wall around the welfare state."