Country has bigger problems to solve than legal immigrant benefits

statue of liberty

Nobody gets into the country illegally. That’s been President Donald Trump’s message to his base, and it’s been well received. Now, though, he’s adding that nobody gets into the country legally without showing that he or she can be self-supporting for the first five years. He shared this message at a recent Cedar Rapids visit, and his supporters gave raucous accent.

On the surface, it makes sense. Many taxpaying citizens are not fond of punching a time clock for 40 hours a week, just to hand over part of that paycheck to new arrivals seeking immediate government handouts.

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 already states that immigrants are not eligible for any federal means-tested public benefit for five years after arriving in our country. If not independently wealthy, it means that many require sponsors either through an employer who promises paychecks that are sufficient enough to be self-supporting or through an individual—often a relative—who promises to provide for the immigrant financially if paychecks fall short.

But emergency medical care, public health assistance, school lunch programs and other benefits are still available to immigrants and are exceptions to the rules. And although it may take a permanent legal resident up to six years to become a naturalized citizen, the household qualifies for some assistance immediately once a child is born on U.S. soil. Lastly, the five year rule is not so awfully long. After that period, a greater number of government programs become available.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, a 2012 report showed that legal immigrant households, receiving assistance, consumed $6,378 annually in government benefits.

Nobody wants to deny lifesaving health care, and every child should have their basic needs met. But this shows that taxpayer dollars are, indeed, finding their way into the homes of immigrants.

I get what the president is after. We want to be the land of hope and opportunity, not the land of generosity that can be easily manipulated.

Six thousand dollars, though, isn’t enough to support a family. It means that immigrants are working. They’re just not earning enough to provide for their family. Unfortunately, there’s a difference between working full time and being self-supporting.

The solution to the immigration and welfare problem isn’t to limit newcomers to just those who already possess the skills, education or wealth to be completely self-sufficient upon arriving in our country. We can certainly welcome the elite immigrant, but it seems a little harsh to deny legal immigration to individuals without those advantages.

A better approach to further reduce benefits to immigrants is to increase the federal minimum wage. This is the legislation that Trump should be promoting. Small businesses can absorb a reasonable increase (not a ridiculous 100 percent increase to $15.00 as some advocate), and it would give immigrants and all workers a better chance of supporting their families without government assistance.

People will continue to legally arrive in our country and receive government benefits, no matter what Trump would like to propose. The sensible goal is to strive to keep benefits at a minimum. We’re not a country that refuses emergency medical care. And once children are born in the United States, they become citizens. A household with low wages then qualifies for assistance that not even Congress or the president can take away. Trump’s time would be better spent on solving the illegal immigration problem.

The inscription on the Statue of Liberty states, “Give me your tired, your hungry, your huddled masses…” That belief system seems to be in direct conflict or tension with attempts to allow only self-supporting immigrants or the elite into the country.

Over the years, the huddled masses have done their part to build our country and build a better future for the next generation. More want to do the same.

Trump is a self-described builder. He should recognize that same desire in others.

Clinton’s history of corruption, without consequences, should be a deal breaker

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Historically, voters send an individual to the White House who is in good standing on Election Day. Most serve their country well.

Sometimes, though, the president surprises and disappoints citizens by committing a potentially impeachable act after being sworn in. Voters don’t have a crystal ball and can’t predict what any elected official will do, once in office.

This election, though, voters know before marking their ballot that Hillary Clinton has committed wrongdoings so serious that they would likely be impeachable offenses had she committed them as president.

The Watergate Articles of Impeachment show uncanny similarities between the actions of President Nixon and those of presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

The articles charged Nixon for, “Withholding relevant and material evidence or information from lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States,” and also, “Interfering or endeavoring to interfere with the conduct of investigations by the Department of Justice of the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation,…and Congressional Committees.”

Clinton stated that she, “never received nor sent any material that was classified” on her private email server while Secretary of State, a claim the FBI found to be untrue. Also, Clinton’s emails were deleted after she received a congressional subpoena. And Clinton’s phones were destroyed with hammers, according to an FBI report.

There is the unseemly defense that she may have been unaware of what was happening or couldn’t remember what happened in the State department, for which she had final authority, as she repeatedly testified. But that could make her the most unknowing and forgetful person to seek the highest office in the land. If not brazenly corrupt, then completely incompetent.

Remarkably, the FBI has characterized this behavior as carelessness. For the average citizen, it would likely be considered felonious.

For Nixon, it caused him to resign from the presidency. But for Clinton, she’s still on path to ascend to the Oval Office.

It seems that Hillary Clinton is above the law, that the rules don’t apply to her, and that she receives special treatment instead of consequences.

Donald Trump is a flawed candidate, as well, with a cringe-worthy communication style. But although he’s not a great talker, he is a hard worker.

He sees the work that needs to be done in this country including appointing Supreme Court justices who will defend and uphold the Constitution, rebuilding our nation through a strong military and strong trade agreements that will benefit American workers, and repealing Obamacare and reducing regulations that are strangling small businesses and the jobs they create.

Most importantly, though, he’s called attention to the corruption in politics and the bias in the mainstream media for liberal candidates. Our country won’t have a chance to accomplish anything until these two wrongs get righted.

The Center for Public Integrity reports that 430 individuals working in the journalism field made political donations and that nearly all of the money, or about 96 percent, benefited Clinton. The donation totals were relatively small: $382,000 for Clinton and $14,000 for Trump. But the money isn’t the biggest problem. It’s the mindset of the journalists, who control the airways and the newspapers—who hold the extremely powerful role of telling voters what to think about. And those journalists have invested financially, and emotionally, in a Clinton win.

The mainstream media is no longer the trusted, watchdog press that it used to be.

If the numbers aren’t damaging enough, recall the imagery of the hug that moderator Rachel Maddow, of MSNBC, gave Hillary Clinton after a Democratic debate.

The press is hugging Clinton. Figuratively, literally and financially.

It seems that Hillary Clinton, if not outright corrupt, is a benefactor of corruption. Positive changes won’t happen with her.

My father had a way of sharing his wisdom and then ending with, “Don’t ever forget that.” One of those teaching moments came when I was quite young, and it stuck with me. He told me that I wasn’t better than anyone else. But at the same time, nobody—(including a presidential candidate)—was better than I was.

And he’s still right.

Hillary Clinton is not above the law.

I’m not sure if Donald Trump can make America great again, but he correctly understands the best way to start—by draining the swamp of corruption.