President-elect Donald Trump’s fabricated claims that undocumented immigrants have voted in numbers large enough to sway the popular vote undermines citizens’ trust in our democracy, undercuts the legitimacy of U.S. democracy abroad, and demonizes undocumented immigrants while diverting attention from legitimate concerns about our democracy, including money in politics, suppression of U.S. citizens’ right to vote, and gerrymandering.
Rates of voter fraud of the type President-elect Trump is alleging are miniscule, ranging from 0.00004 percent to 0.0009 percent, according to a seminal report by the Brennan Center for Justice. However, by making unfounded claims of voter fraud involving millions of people, President-elect Trump sows deep distrust of our elections and challenges the fundamental right of every American to have a voice in our democracy through his or her vote. At best, his contention could result in voter suppression if enough people think the system is so flawed they decide not to participate. At worst, it damages the foundation of our democracy by calling into question the validity of our elections.
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The United States must foster policies and practices that welcome international students to our institutions of higher education. Misstating the facts about immigrants in this country not only distorts the policy debate, but also makes those who are born outside our borders less likely to feel they are welcome here and that their contributions are appreciated.
In his much anticipated immigration policy speech, Presidential candidate Donald Trump distorted facts about immigrants. By stating that, “62 percent of households headed by illegal immigrants used some form of cash or non-cash welfare programs, like food stamps or housing assistance,” Trump implies that undocumented immigrants receive federal government assistance. In fact, the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, commonly known as welfare reform, effectively barred undocumented immigrants from receiving any federal benefits. (It also severely curtailed access to federal benefits programs by legal immigrants.) Similarly, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as the food stamp program until 2008.
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