S.3470 introduced by Senator Edward Markey would make immigrant public charges non-deportable

Junior Senator from Massachusetts Edward J. Markey may not be a Cherokee Indian but he definitely fits the “progressive” mold, as one would expect from a Senator from Massachusetts.

On March 12 Ed Markey introduced Senate Bill 3470, ambitiously titled A bill to establish the National Office of New Americans, to reduce obstacles to United States citizenship, to support the integration of immigrants into the social, cultural, economic, and civic life of the United States, and for other purposes.

The main practical benefit derived from creating such a new national office would be to keep Democratic Party supporters off the unemployment rolls.

Section 103, Federal Initiative on New Americans explains that the Director of this new National Office would establish a “Federal Initiative on New Americans” which would join with other Federal agencies to provide access to English language learning, adult education and workforce training, occupational licensure, early childhood care and education, elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education, health care, naturalization, civic engagement, immigration assistance and legal services, economic development, language access services, and other services aiding the integration of immigrants and refugees into the social, cultural, economic, and civic life of the United States.

Section 2, Definitions clarifies that the term “immigrant” applies to anyone who is not a citizen or national of the United States, and either 1) is in any status under the immigration laws or 2) is not in any status under the immigration laws and intends to resident permanently in the United States.

In other words, this legislation applies to both legal and illegal immigrants, the latter referring to people who entered the United States illegally or who arrived legally and overstayed their visas, so long as they intend to stay here.

Immigrants who became public charges would no longer be deportable

Section 306, Revision of Grounds for Deportation consists of the following text:

Section 237(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1227(a)) is amended by striking paragraph (5).

8 U.S.C. 1227 is titled Deportable aliens; it defines the conditions under which aliens who were admitted to the United States can be deported. Here is paragraph (5) of 8 U.S.C. 1227(a):

(5) Public charge

Any alien who, within five years after the date of entry, has become a public charge from causes not affirmatively shown to have arisen since entry is deportable.

Immigrants who came to the United States and began to receive government cash benefits would not be deportable under Senate Bill 3470, even if they had no way of proving that the need for those cash benefits arose only after their date of immigration.

However, the legislation would leave untouched the language in 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(4) which rules inadmissible any alien who, at the time of application for admission (visa applicants) or adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident (green card applicants), is likely at any time to become a public charge.

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