President Trump called for a new law barring immigrants from receiving welfare for at least five years at a rally on Wednesday. But neither Trump nor nearly 6,000 of his die-hard supporters seemed to realize that the law has already existed for more than 20 years.
Trump received a standing ovation and pledged his administration would put the legislation into effect “very shortly.”
“I believe 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 told the crowd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
As The Hill reported, President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in 1996. The law prevents immigrants from receiving federal benefits, such as food stamps, Medicaid, and Social Security for five years after entering the country.
There are some exceptions, however, for children and pregnant women, refugees, and active duty military or veterans. It’s possible Trump could introduce tougher limitations and regulations on top of the existing law.
Trump also came under fire for telling the rally crowd in Cedar Rapids that he doesn’t want a poor person to run the economy. He was defending his selections of billionaire Wilbur Ross and multimillionaire Gary Cohn as parts of his economic team.
In addition to the cheering crowds, Trump's rally also drew about 250 protesters who voiced their dissent from about a block away.