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Immigration

Fmr. DHS Secretary Chad Wolf: Biden immigration plan ‘incentivizes’ immigrants to come to the southern border

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Former Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf on Wednesday argued that newly sworn-in President Joe Biden‘s proposal to grant the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants residing within the United States a pathway to citizenship over the course of eight years and his plans to immediately halt construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall will “incentivize” migrants “to come to the [southern] border.”

On Wednesday, Biden is set to introduce a sweeping immigration bill that will include this eight-year pathway to citizenship provision. Specifically, those who have been residing in the U.S. as of January 1, 2021 without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes, and fulfill other basic requirements, according to the Associated Press. After that comes a three-year path to naturalization, if they decide to pursue citizenship.

While Wolf said that such a policy decision would incentivize more migrants to try to enter the U.S. illegally, he also said that Biden was going about this in the right way legislatively.

“President Biden is doing the right thing—he’s actually proposing this Congress, which is where these types of decisions should be made,” Wolf told Fox News host John Roberts shortly after the midday inauguration event ended. “We don’t need another DACA-like program by an executive order.”

Moreover, Biden plans to also expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and make sure that illegal immigrants are counted in the census.

Wolf then called Biden’s proposed immigration policy changes a “mixed message.”

“It’s a mixed message. You’re telling folks that if you get here at some period of time at some date certain, you will have a pathway to citizenship,” he said. “Once these proposals go to Congress, Congress then begins to tinker with them, tinker with dates. I know his proposal says January 1, but it’s not to say that this date will stick.”

Furthermore, while Biden’s plan will enhance technology used at the border for security, Biden says he’ll halt construction of former President Donald Trump’s border wall.

Wolf explained that he and others have argued for years that the U.S. does not need a border wall system along “every inch and every mile” of the U.S.-Mexico border. However, he says that agents patrolling the border say the wall is necessary for “effective border security,” adding that the Trump administration listened to those on the ground.

“I welcome more technology on that border,” Wolf also said, “but at the end of the day, [border agents] need that impedance and denial that an effective border wall system gives them,” adding that there are some critical sections of the border that need such infrastructure.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Healthcare

CA to provide all low-income illegal immigrants health care at a cost of ‘$2.7 billion a year’

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On Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a $307.9 billion operating budget “that pledges to make all low-income adults eligible for the state’s Medicaid program by 2024 regardless of their immigration status” reports the Associated Press.

The guarantee of free health care for low-income immigrants here illegally, is a “move that will provide coverage for an additional 764,000 people at an eventual cost of about $2.7 billion a year” adds the AP.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care nonprofit, people living in the country illegally in 2020 accounted for roughly 7% of the population nationwide, or about 22.1 million people. The border crisis and number of migrants entering the United States illegally has skyrocketed to historic levels since 2020 when President Joe Biden took office.

Medicaid nationwide is the current combination of federal and state governments assisting Americans and low-income adults and children to receive free health care, but the federal government does not cover those living here illegally.

“Some states, including California, have used their own tax dollars to cover a portion of health care expenses for some low-income immigrants” reports the AP. “Now, California wants to be the first to do that for everyone.”

“This will represent the biggest expansion of coverage in the nation since the start of the Affordable Care Act in 2014,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a statewide consumer health care advocacy group. “In California we recognize (that) everybody benefits when everyone is covered.”

While 92% of Californians currently have some form of health insurance, “that will change once this budget is fully implemented, as adults living in the country illegally make up one of the largest groups of people without insurance in the state” the AP concludes.

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