Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said that the gang of eight’s immigration proposal will not allow legalized immigrants to receive federal benefits such as welfare or the Obamacare coverage.
“[T]hey don’t qualify for any federal benefits,” Rubio said on Fox News Sunday of the current illegal immigrants slated for legalization under the proposal he helped write. “This is an important point. No federal benefits, no food stamps, no welfare, no ObamaCare. They have to prove they’re gainfully employed. They have to be able to support themselves, so they’ll never become a public charge.”
Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee had suggested that the proposal would add trillions in federal spending because “there is nothing in the framework to apply federal public charge law to those in the country illegally before they are granted legal status.” The committee staff also recalled that Immigrations and Custom Enforcement union president Chris Crane said that officers “are not permitted to enforce that statute.”
Rubio indicated that wouldn’t be a problem under this proposal. “Under this plan, not only do you not qualify for any federal benefits while you’re in the legal status,” he told Fox’s Chris Wallace. “Under existing law, you don’t qualify for any federal benefits during the first five years on a green card, either. Second, in order to quality — in order to keep this legal status, you must be gainfully employed and you must be paying taxes. Third, in order to get a green card in the future, you must prove you’ve been gainfully employed and that you can support yourself.”
The top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee still thinks the bill is an entitlement program budget buster. “[I]t will expose taxpayers to enormous long-term costs, including trillions in unfunded liabilities for Medicare and Social Security from which low-wage foreign workers will draw more benefits than they pay in,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said in a statement after Rubio’s interview. “These programs need strengthening, not further weakening.”