Last week the Trump administration renewed its attack on immigrants, this time limiting admission to our country to only people who can prove they will have health insurance coverage within 30 days of entering the United States.
This is just another attempt to show favoritism to the rich, using economic status and the size of one’s wallet to determine who can pursue their dreams.
This is also a policy largely in search of a problem. An analysis of the most recent Census data by the Koch-founded Cato Institute found that immigrants are less likely to receive government benefits than native-born Americans, are at least as likely to have jobs, and pay more in state and local taxes than they receive in benefits. In addition, federal law already prohibits most immigrants from accessing health programs like Medicaid during their first five years living in America.
Trump’s decision to require proof of the ability to obtain health insurance within a month of arrival is just another move to placate his far-right political base, while throwing more delays, uncertainty, and confusion into the legal immigration process.
As has been obvious for years, the policies of this administration have done nothing to actually address the issue of our deeply flawed immigration system. Instead, its focus lies solely on rallying the president’s base by demonizing immigrants while implementing some of the cruelest practices our nation has ever seen — separating children from their parents, turning away asylum seekers at the border, and withholding basic necessities like beds, blankets, and soap from people held in immigrant detention facilities.
Make no mistake, last week’s announcement simply continues Trump’s goal of limiting immigration from less economically robust countries — and, by extension, limiting the number of black and brown people who come to our country.
We must demand better.
We are a country that helps those in need, and the Trump administration’s latest xenophobic attack on immigrants tramples on that tradition. It perversely punishes people here hoping to be reunited with loved ones. This is not what we as a country stand for.
Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images