The latest of Donald Trump’s seemingly endless series of executive orders could spell terrifying news for children. A draft of the order leaked to the The Washington Post shows that it would curb government assistance to immigrants, including nutritional programs that help 45.3 percent of low-income immigrants with children put food on the table. While some of those first-generation immigrants might not be legal U.S. citizens, 88 percent of their kids are. Even scarier, these same children could be orphaned if their parents are deported, another serious risk if this order is signed.
In addition to making it harder for some American children to eat, the order would crack down on which immigrants are allowed into the U.S. Traditionally, the likelihood of an immigrant’s dependence on public assistance isn’t taken into consideration during their immigration application. Now, not only will that be a deciding factor in whether or not immigrants can come, it could also be a deciding factor in whether or not they can stay — even if they’ve been legally living here for years. The order would allow officials to deport families who are recipients of income-based public benefits.
This means that the United States would be discriminating against poor immigrants and their children, many of whom need our help the most. Keep in mind that these noncitizen immigrants pay the same taxes as American citizens do, meaning they’re helping to pay for a system that they would be barred from benefiting from. To make an abhorrent situation even more heartbreaking, there are many cases where immigrant parents are deported with little notice, separated from their children who are U.S. citizens.
So, what the hell would motivate Trump to sign such extreme, harmful legislation? It’s estimated that this move could potentially save the government billions of dollars. But it could also plunge as many as 3.7 million households into food insecurity, according to the Washington Post, and research shows that children who are food-insecure are (obviously) likelier to have health problems, which, ironically, ends up costing the government more money in the long run.
So basically, setting aside how morally wrong and backward it is in every way, on a purely practical level, the order is a short-term solution to a financial problem that will ultimately still end up growing. To call it shortsighted would be a serious understatement.
Hopefully, this executive order will go through some major re-drafting — or better off, not be signed at all. Otherwise, millions of kids will be the innocent victims of a government who decided to let them go hungry and even be orphaned in order to save a buck. Exactly what kind of country are we, America?