Donald Trump wins standing ovation at rally for proposing immigration law that already exists

The President was speaking to supporters in Iowa

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Thursday 22 June 2017 15:40 BST
Trump promises immigrants won't be able to access welfare for five years- a law which already exists

Donald Trump received a standing ovation when he announced plans to introduce legislation to stop immigrants receiving welfare benefits for five years - even though such a law has already existed for two decades.

Speaking to supporters at a campaign-style rally in Iowa, his fifth such event since he was elected, the President said he wanted to do more to help rural America. He said he was determined to protect the safety net for Americans in need.

“But others do not treat us fairly,” he said. “That is why I believe the time has come for new immigration laws which say those seeking entry to our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years.”

Donald Trump: 'I don't want a poor person in a cabinet role'

Yet as The Hill pointed out, Mr Trump and his supporters did not appear to realise that such legislation already exists. It said legislation backed Bill Clinton, called the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, stated that immigrants were “not eligible for any federal means-tested public benefit” for five years beginning when they came into the country.

It said that the law does have some exceptions and additional legislation since its passage has also affected eligibility.

Mr Trump has long pushed for more aggressive immigration policies, seeking to build a wall on the United States’ border with Mexico.

At the same event in Cedar Rapids, he returned to the issue of such a wall, and said he planned to build one that contained solar panels. He also sought to take credit for the idea.

“We’re thinking about building the wall as a solar wall,” said Mr Trump. “This way, Mexico will have to pay much less money."

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