In a segment that aired on several local NBC news stations, FactCheck.org Deputy Managing Editor Robert Farley discussed President Donald Trump’s inaccurate claim that the RAISE Act “prevents … new immigrants from collecting welfare.”
Trump was referring to the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act, which was proposed by Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue. The bill seeks to halve legal immigration into the U.S. by reducing the number who gain entry based on family ties, capping the yearly number of refugees admitted and emphasizing a “merit-based” immigration system.
Trump also said it would stop new immigrants from accessing welfare.
“They’re not going to come in and just immediately go and collect welfare. That doesn’t happen under the RAISE Act,” Trump said of the immigration bill he recently endorsed.
But current federal law already bars most new immigrants from most federal public assistance programs for five years, so it’s misleading to suggest all immigrants can now “immediately go and collect welfare.”
Secondly, there are exceptions to the current law, such as for children and pregnant women. The legislation would limit those exceptions, tightening the eligibility requirements for some new immigrants to qualify for public assistance — specifically for the minority of immigrants who would come through the “skills-based” system that prioritizes applicants based on factors such as education level, English language proficiency and job skills. But many would remain eligible for public assistance under the proposed bill. So he’s also wrong when he says the RAISE Act “prevents … new immigrants from collecting welfare.”
For FactCheck.org’s full analysis, see our story “Trump Overstates Impact of Immigration Bill.”
This video is part of FactCheck.org’s partnership with NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, a division of NBCUniversal, to produce fact-checking segments for local NBC stations.