Editorial: Immigrants should be self-supporting

When the Trump administration announced that it is going to start enforcing a Clinton-era law that denies legal immigration status and work cards for non-naturalized immigrants who have come to rely on government welfare programs, Nevada Democrats recoiled in horror.

How dare the administration insist that immigrants earn their own way and not be a burden on the taxpayers.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said at a White House press briefing that President Trump was delivering on his promise to enforce longstanding immigration law. 

“Today, USCIS, the agency I head as part of the Department of Homeland Security, has issued a rule that encourages and ensures self-reliance and self-sufficiency for those seeking to come to, or to stay in, the United States,” Cuccinelli said. “It will also help promote immigrant success in the United States as they seek opportunity here. …  The virtues of perseverance, hard work, and self-sufficiency laid the foundation of our nation and have defined generations of immigrants seeking opportunity in the United States.”

Ken Cuccinelli

As of Oct. 15 legal immigrants would no longer be able to stay and work in this country if during a 12-month period over the past three years they had received a certain level of cash benefits, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, most forms of Medicaid and some housing programs such as Section 8.

In a Twitter posting Las Vegas Democratic Rep. Dina Titus charged, “The Trump Administration just put forward another cruel plan to cut legal immigration and put food, health care, and housing further out of reach for immigrant families. That’s why I co-sponsored a bill to block this disgraceful proposal from going into effect.”

Democratic Rep. Steve Horsford, who represents northern Clark County and much of Southern Nevada, put out a press release blasting the new criteria. “This is just the latest attack from the Trump administration on immigrant communities — taking health care and food away from children and families …” the congressman said. “This fight isn’t over. We must continue to stand up, speak out, and fight back to protect immigrant families. This regulation forces millions of families to choose between the things the food, shelter and health care they need and the people they love.”

Back in October, when the administration first broached the changes in legal immigration eligibility, Nevada senior Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto joined with several other senators in a letter declaring, “Frightening people away from critical resources would compromise families and communities across our country. The wellbeing of children and parents are inextricably linked. It is impossible to single out one member of a family without having a ripple effect on children and other members of the household. One in four children in America have at least one foreign-born parent, and children of immigrants make up 31 percent of all children in families that receive relevant benefits. Furthermore, over nine million of these children are U.S. citizens.” 

According to various studies as many as 50 to 60 percent of households headed by non-citizen immigrants rely on some form of welfare compared to 30 to 40 percent of homes headed by native-born citizens.

This past week Nevada Democratic Attorney General Aaron Ford decided to spend Nevada tax money to fight the new rules, joining with a dozen other attorneys general in filing suit against the federal government. 

“I pledged to protect Nevada’s families, and I will continue to protect our families from the Trump Administration’s numerous attacks,” Ford said in a press release announcing his action. “This proposed change is not only mean-spirited, it essentially makes legal immigrants choose between maintaining their legal status and receiving assistance to meet basic needs, like food, health care and housing. It’s unconscionable.”

U.S. taxpayers should not be expected to feed, house and provide health care for everyone on the planet who manages to make it to our doorstep.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

 

Perhaps ethics complaint against Reid should be updated

I mentioned the other day that a conservative-leaning watchdog group had filed a letter of complaint with the Senate ethics panel concerning acts by Nevada senior Sen. Harry Reid that constituted a conflict of interest.

The group, Cause of Action, pointed out that Reid and his staff urged the head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to grant special EB-5 visas to a group of Asians planning to invest in the renovation of the old Sahara Hotel, now called SLS Las Vegas. Such visas are granted to foreigners who invest more than $500,000 in American projects that create jobs. The agency had turned down the visa applications due to “suspicious financial activity.” Though that decision was ineligible for appeal, the head of the agency reversed it.

Alejandro Mayorkas

Cause of Action noted that Reid’s son Rory and his law firm, Lionel, Sawyer & Collins are legal counsel to SLS and Senate rules demand that senators avoid conflicts of political, personal or financial interest.

Perhaps, Cause of Action should amend its letter. Four days after filing the complaint, the Senate voted to confirm the nomination of the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Alejandro Mayorkas, to become the second in command at the Department of Homeland Security. The vote was 54-41.

Had Reid not just changed the Senate rules the nomination would have failed to achieve the previously required 60 votes.

Mayorkas was confirmed despite the fact he was under investigation at the the time for — wait for it —  expediting EB-5 visa applications for certain applicants despite the rejection of those visas by career staffers. Among those seeking foreign investors were now-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Anthony Rodham. They were after visas for investors in an energy-efficient car company.

Do you see a pattern?

Career staffers reject visas for foreign investors in a Las Vegas hotel project represented by the senator’s son. The senator makes a personal call to Mayorkas, according to an email obtained by The Washington Times, and Mayorkas promises the senator his agency would take a “fresh look” at the visa request. Fresh look results in visas being expedited. Hotel project has groundbreaking. Senator changes filibuster rules for presidential nominees so only a simple majority is required. Fresh looker wins confirmation on a simple majority vote.

The Latin term is quid pro quo, something for something.

So far as I can find, no Las Vegas news media outlet has bothered to report on the ethics complaint against Reid, which was filed in mid-December.

Perhaps the state Gaming Control Board should investigate the SLS foreign investors’ “suspicious financial activity.”