President Trump is signing a memorandum Thursday that will enforce a 23-year-old provision requiring sponsors of legal immigrants in the U.S. to reimburse the government for any social services such as Medicaid or welfare used by the immigrant, Fox News has learned.
The provision was part of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) and Welfare Reform laws that were signed by then-President Bill Clinton, but despite being enshrined in federal law, the rule has not been enforced.
Under the provision, each future sponsor of an immigrant would need to sign an affidavit that would spell out the financial responsibilities for the sponsored immigrant and create a collection mechanism to recover funds from the sponsor. The Department of Health and Human Services is to collect the data of the sponsors and the immigrants, while the Treasury Department would collect the funds.
The move – part of the president’s push for a merit-based immigration system – is meant to make the person sponsoring the immigrant responsible for any medical or financial benefits the immigrant receives.
The president’s memorandum comes a week after Trump announced his immigration overhaul that, if adopted, would dramatically alter how the U.S. accepts people into the country and upend the system in order to favor admissions based on merit rather than family ties.