At a town hall in Anamosa, I heard an individual speaking about immigrants coming to this country because of the benefits. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this false statement, and I’m certain it won’t be the last.

Undocumented immigrants are ineligible to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), regular Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). They are also ineligible for health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and are prohibited from purchasing unsubsidized health coverage on ACA exchanges.

Individuals are not coming to the U.S. to receive benefits. High murder rates, the unsuccessful drug war in Central America and a faltering economy, are driving asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants toward the United States.

At the end of 2018, the Treasury Department recorded a $779 billion deficit for the 2018 fiscal year and the U.S. National Debt Hits Record $22 Trillion, stemming in large part from a sharp decline in corporate tax revenues after a $1.5 trillion tax cut last year; tax cuts that largely benefited the wealthy and large corporations.

You’ll likely hear talk from the GOP lead Senate about reigning in the debt and reducing entitlement programs to solve the ballooning deficit. These are coded words to signal that changes to Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid were needed to tame the deficit. It isn’t immigrants that are jeopardizing these programs, it’s tax cuts to the wealthy. You shouldn’t be fooled by this divisive rhetoric.

Angie Weiland

Cedar Rapids

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