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No Taxpayer-Funded Benefits for Illegal Aliens

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Scalise: No Taxpayer-Funded Benefits for Illegal Aliens

Congressman Steve Scalise introduced an amendment to the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) legislation that will restore protections so that illegal aliens will not be able to receive taxpayer-funded healthcare benefits.

The Democrats' proposed SCHIP bill will eliminate the current law that all states must verify the identity and citizenship of Medicaid and SCHIP applicants. The Scalise amendment would restore to the bill the verification process that is already in place. Without a strong identity and citizenship verification process, SCHIP will be open to fraud and abuse by illegal aliens and others not eligible for the program.

"This program is essential for Louisiana and American children, and we need to make sure to prevent fraud and abuse by non-American citizens and others who want to abuse the program," Scalise said. "I am disappointed that some members of Congress are attempting to make it the law of the land for illegal immigrants to receive federal health benefits. By increasing the verification process, and rooting out non-citizens, we will be saving taxpayers billions of dollars and making the program better for the children who it's intended to serve."

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the provision in the proposed legislation that eliminates the citizenship verification process, without the Scalise amendment, will cost taxpayers more than $5 billion in health care benefits for illegal aliens and others who are not eligible to participate in the SCHIP program because of fraud and abuse.

Scalise said, "Without my amendment, illegal aliens will have more incentive to cross our boarders illegally so they can receive taxpayer-funded benefits. The Democratic leadership's bill opens the door for fraud and abuse. This fraud will be paid for by taxpayers facing tough economic times, many of whom do not even have health insurance of their own. America is the land of opportunity, and that is why so many immigrants come here legally. The last thing we want to do is create an atmosphere encouraging people to come here illegally and immediately begin receiving taxpayer-funded welfare benefits. We must protect the taxpayer and prevent illegal aliens from obtaining these benefits."

Although Democrats rejected the amendment, Congressman Scalise defended his amendment on the House Floor today. His remarks can be viewed by clicking here.

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