Posted on June 23, 2017

Trump’s Proposed 5-Year Welfare Ban for Immigrants Is Already Law

Jeremy Diamond, CNN, June 22, 2017

President Donald Trump proposed Wednesday night reforming the welfare system by putting into law a statute that has been the law of the land since 1996.

“I believe the time has come for new immigration rules which say those seeking admission into our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years,” Trump said to raucous applause from the roughly 6,000 supporters who flocked to his Iowa rally.

He added that he wanted to pass legislation to that effect “very soon.”

With a few exceptions, new immigrants already cannot access welfare programs during their first five years in the US, per a 1996 welfare reform law signed by President Bill Clinton.

Pressed repeatedly by CNN, a senior administration official did not dispute that the proposal is already in effect.

The official said that Trump is aiming for a “total rewrite of our immigration system” that would produce a “merit-based system for entry.”


Several categories of legal immigrants are exempt from the five-year ban on accessing government welfare programs, including children, refugees and veterans of the US military.