President Trump announced Wednesday night that he will soon ask Congress to pass legislation banning immigrants from accessing public assistance within five years of entering the U.S.
“The time has come for new immigration rules that say ... those seeking immigration into our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years," Trump told a campaign-style rally in Grand Rapids, Iowa.
Trump's proposal would build on the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, which allows federal authorities to deport immigrants who become public dependents within five years of their arrival.
Trump's proposal would also prevent the admission of people who are likely to become so-called "public charges" within five years of their arrival. The concept of "public charge" has been part of U.S. immigration law for over a century. It allows the government to bar entry to individuals who are likely to seek public assistance. Trump is expected to propose toughening up the rules regarding “public charge” and ensuring that they are enforced.