The administration is pointing to the need to protect American benefit recipients. The act was sponsored by then Democrat Senator Joe Biden and current Senator Ron Wyden.
The memo directs government agencies to enforce legislation signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996 that requires sponsors of immigrants to the U.S. to reimburse the government for any welfare benefits received by the person they are sponsoring.
Sponsor repayment of welfare benefits was enacted under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, but has remained largely unenforced. The bill was sponsored by Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy and Patty Murray.
“This executive action will dramatically curb ‘welfare tourism’ and protect U.S. benefits for U.S. families,” a senior administration official told The Daily Caller. “It will also ensure that immigrant sponsors cannot continue the practice of bringing in large numbers of welfare-dependent immigrants: because they will be financially liable.”
The memo also requires enforcement of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, which asks government agencies to consider the sponsor’s income when determining whether or not a non-citizen is eligible for welfare benefits. Because the agency would be bundling the sponsor’s and immigrant’s income, some immigrants may no longer meet the eligibility criteria.