The White House plans to propose making it tougher for documented immigrants to become US citizens if they have ever used a range of social services from Obamacare to food stamps, NBC News reports.
Crafted by presidential advisor and white-nationalist ally Stephen Miller, the plan would also punish immigrants if their American-born children—US citizens by right—used these services, Reuters has reported.
The idea is likely to prove unpopular with all but Donald Trump’s most loyal supporters. Most Americans favor giving children of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, and a record number said last month they thought immigration was a “good thing” for the country, Gallup reports.
In fact, the number of Americans who voted for Trump in 2016 is about 13 million fewer than the largest number of US residents Miller’s plan conceivably could target, according to census data. Almost one-quarter of the US population is made up of first- and second-generation immigrants, as the census pointed out in a report published November 2016. That’s 76.4 million people. About 63 million voted for Trump.
Census figures include immigrants who are naturalized citizens, temporary or long-term residents, and undocumented residents, along with children not yet of voting age. The voting numbers only include citizens. There is some overlap—any naturalized citizens and children of immigrants who voted for Trump.
The proposal is the latest Trump administration push to curb immigration to the US and oust legal residents who don’t fit the administration’s definition of “American.” A growing number of political analysts believe it is also part of a larger Republican attempt to maintain its level of political control, despite the fact that the US is becoming less white and more Democratic.
The Republican party is shrinking, and polls that show strong Republican support for Trump don’t actually take into account that fact, as Quartz reported earlier. About 19% of the US population supports Trump, while 31% of the population dislikes him.
Immigration is a key part of the US’s economic strength, the census report notes:
“Successfully navigating the transition from immigrant origins, in which one or more parents or grandparents were foreign born, plays a central role in the mythology of the ‘American dream.’ This expectation that one’s economic status will improve over those of one’s parents and grandparents is particularly salient in immigrant communities, in which the first generation often must work harder to overcome numerous cultural and economic challenges.”