November 27, 2022

KID VICIOUS: This Republican wants Child Protective Services to deport immigrants

KID VICIOUS: This Republican just suggested they infiltrate CPS to deport immigrants

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Paul Gosar (R-AZ) told a rally audience that they need to infiltrate programs like WIC (Women, Infants, Children) and CPS in order to carry out discrimination and harassment of undocumented immigrants, with deportation as the ultimate goal.

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The child of an undocumented immigrant may be an American citizen, entitling that child to certain rights and benefits, including programs like WIC (a supplemental nutrition program that provides free baby formula, and certain other food items, to those who qualify), SNAP (commonly known as “food stamps,”) and Medicaid. Like any citizen, the child’s eligibility for those programs is determined by household income.

Applying for one of these programs is not grounds for deportation, and such programs typically have safeguards to protect undocumented parents, keeping them with their citizen children.

Gosar, it seems, does not approve.

At a rally alongside gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, Gosar expressed his disapproval, declaring that undocumented immigrants should not be able to get jobs, nor access the social safety net. He called for his supporters to infiltrate these government programs, and to take steps to ensure that immigrants seeking help are deported.

He declared:

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When you come illegally into this country, you’re not entitled to welfare, any subsidization, healthcare, none of that. You ought to be parking your bottoms in those beurocracies of Child Protective Services, you know, WIC….all these programs and sort them out. They’re not supposed to be able to get a job.

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It’s not entirely clear who he means to target with regard to CPS — an undocumented parent accused (falsely or otherwise) of abuse? An undocumented individual who reports abuse by another party? Either could harm children by making a reporter less willing to come forward.

His claims are not unilaterally true under U.S. law, either — the National Immigration Law Center lays out many of the eligibility details for immigrants here.

Among other things, emergency Medicaid may be available to immigrants, regardless of immigration status, if they qualify on the basis of income; WIC is available to immigrants in most states, even if they’re undocumented; and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) provides prenatal care in 21 states.

In short, Gosar’s plan would not only result in the unnecessary separation of children and parents and deter parents in many cases from seeking lifesaving or health-securing benefits, but it isn’t even consistent with U.S. law and policy for these programs.

Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.

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