U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, released a statement today as State Department Secretary Hillary Clinton and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano failed to meet the deadline to respond to an oversight letter from the senior Republicans on the Budget, Judiciary, Finance, and Agriculture Committees. In their letter, Ranking Members Sessions, Grassley, Hatch, and Roberts asked the Secretaries to explain why the legal requirement that potential immigrants and visa applicants not be welfare-reliant has been effectively nullified. This requirement is set forth in section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and states that "An alien who is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible."
Sessions' statement follows:
"It is unacceptable that Secretary Napolitano and Secretary Clinton have not seen fit to respond to our oversight letter. It is a sound principle of immigration law that those who come to our country should be able to take care of themselves financially, yet this legal requirement has effectively been waived. Under their agencies' guidelines, an able-bodied, working-age immigrant could receive the bulk of his or her income in the form of federal assistance and still not be deemed welfare-reliant.
More than 100 million people in the U.S., including foreign nationals, are currently receiving some form of federal welfare. Yet despite these historic figures, the Administration is aggressively trying to boost the welfare rolls among non-citizens. USDA has even entered into a partnership with the Mexican government to expand enrollment in food stamps and the fourteen other welfare programs administered by that agency. Actions like this threaten the core premise of American immigration.
Our reasonable request for information should be easily met. The American people have a right to know and I intend to pursue the matter vigorously."