Trump’s announced plan for immigrants already exists as a law

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During his Wednesday night rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, President Trump proposed a “new immigration rule” declaring that immigrants who enter the United States should not be eligible to receive welfare benefits for five years, though such a law has been in place since 1996.

“The time has come for new immigration rules which say that those seeking admission into our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years,” Trump said to the crowd at the U.S. Cellular Center.

Trump noted that his administration would be “putting in legislation to that effect very shortly.”

However, the administration could easily enforce such a policy since such a law is already in effect and has been in place for twenty years.

The legislation, known as the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), was passed during the Clinton administration and dictates that an immigrant is “not eligible for any Federal means-tested public benefit” for 5 years, which begins on the date that the immigrant enters the United States.

The law allows for exceptions, and immigrants might be eligible for benefits such as certain medical assistance, public health assistance for some vaccines and “in-kind emergency disaster relief.”

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