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Committee Reports

104th Congress (1995-1996)

House Report 104-828

Partial Report: House Report 104-828 1 of 1

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House Report 104-828 - ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION REFORM AND IMMIGRANT RESPONSIBILITY ACT OF 1996

SUBTITLE A--ELIGIBILITY OF EXCLUDABLE, DEPORTABLE, NONIMMIGRANT ALIENS FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE AND BENEFITS

Sections 501 and 502--House section 601 recedes to Senate amendment section 201(a)(1) with modifications. These sections bar ineligible aliens (as defined herein) from Federal, State, and local public benefits programs, contracts, grants, loans, and licenses, with specified exemptions (as defined herein).

In general, ineligible aliens should not take advantage of taxpayers by accessing public benefits. However, the managers believe that certain public health, nutrition, and in-kind community service programs should be exempted from the general prohibition on ineligible aliens accessing public benefits. The exemption for public health assistance for immunizations is not intended to be limited to immunizations under the Public Health Service Act, but refers to all immunizations. In the subparagraph treating certain battered aliens (or certain aliens subjected to extreme cruelty) as eligible aliens, the managers believe that the phrase `an alien whose child has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty' includes children who have been sexually molested.

The managers intend that the inclusion of parolees who are paroled into the United States for a period of at least one year in the definition of eligible alien refers only to the period for which such aliens are authorized to remain in the United States after their parole. The statement contained in the Committee Report accompanying the Senate Amendment, that such reference referred to parolees who had been present in the United States for one year or more, does not reflect the intention of the managers as stated herein.

In defining `means-tested public benefit,' (for purposes of sections 501, 551, 552), the managers do not intend to include programs which do not consider an applicant's income in the disbursement of assistance. For example, Title I grants under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 are provided to school districts with significant numbers of needy students. Since all students in that district will receive assistance from these funds--regardless of each student's financial status--neither `deeming' (see section 552) nor the prohibition on receipt by illegal aliens are applicable. ESEA is exempted under sections 551 and 552 only because certain means-tested benefits (such as Elleander Fellowships) are authorized under that Act as well.

Many States use Federal block grant monies to provide services to the poor which are not within the scope of what the managers consider `means-tested.' For example, soup kitchens and homeless shelters serve needy individuals, but the operators do not require each applicant to demonstrate financial need. Similarly, if a State chose to use money from the Social Service Block Grant to fund the administrative costs of a youth soccer league in a poor area of that State, such a benefit would not be considered `means-tested' under this Act.

The exception for treatment of communicable diseases is very narrow. The managers intend that it only apply where absolutely necessary to prevent the spread of such diseases. The managers do not intend that the exception for testing and treatment for communicable diseases should include treatment for the HIV virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome. This exception is only intended to cover short-term measures that would be taken prior to the departure of the alien from the United States. It does not provide authority for long-term treatment of such diseases or a means for illegal aliens to delay their removal from the country.

The allowance for emergency medical services also is very narrow. The managers intend that it only apply to medical care that is strictly of an emergency nature, such as medical treatment for emergency treatment administered in an emergency room, critical care unit, or intensive care unit. Emergency medical services do not include pre-natal or delivery care, or post-partum assistance, that is not strictly of an emergency nature as specified herein--including State-funded or administered pre-natal and post-partum care. The managers intend that any provision of services under this exception for mental health disorders be limited to circumstances in which the alien's condition is such that he is a danger to himself or to others and has therefore been judged incompetent by a court of appropriate jurisdiction.

Section 503--House section 602 recedes to Senate amendment section 201(b) with modifications to eliminate the crediting of employment for purposes of unemployment benefits for individuals in PRUCOL status.

Section 504--House recedes to Senate amendment section 201(c) with modifications. This section amends section 202 of the Social Security Act to provide that no Social Security benefits may be paid to an alien not lawfully present in the United States. This section also amends section 210 of the Social Security Act to provide that periods of unauthorized employment shall not count towards an alien's eligibility for Social Security retirement benefits. The managers intend to allow sufficient time for the Social Security Administration to comply with this provision in order for SSA field offices to develop appropriate screening procedures.

Section 505--Senate recedes to House section 601(c) with modifications to amend the SAVE program. This section requires proof of identity for all applicants in addition to the verification requirements for non-citizens under section 1137(d) of the Social Security Act.

Section 506--Senate recedes to House section 601(d). This section authorizes State and local governments to require proof of eligibility (including identity) from applicants for State and local public benefits programs.

Section 507--House recedes to Senate amendment section 201(a)(2) with modifications. This section provides that illegal aliens are not eligible for in-state tuition rates at public institutions of higher education.

Section 508--Senate recedes to House section 606. House recedes to Senate amendment section 205. This section requires that applicants for post-secondary financial assistance be subject to verification of their eligibility prior to receiving such assistance. The managers believe that House section 606 reflects the current practice of the Department of Education regarding the verification of student eligibility for postsecondary financial assistance.

Section 509--House recedes to Senate amendment sections 324 and 326. These sections amend the Social Security Act, and the Higher Education Act of 1986 to require the submission of photostatic or similar copies of documents or information specified by the INS for verification of an alien's immigration status.

Section 510--House recedes to Senate amendment section 201(e) with modifications. This section requires Federal, State, and local public benefits agencies to verify an applicant's eligibility (including the amount of eligibility) prior to the administration of public benefits by a non-profit charitable organization. The managers believe that non-profit charitable organizations themselves should not have to verify immigration status or determine the eligibility of aliens for public benefits, e.g., by `deeming' the income of sponsors to immigrant applicants for assistance (see section 552). The managers also believe, however, that the appropriate Federal or State agency must verify and determine the amount of eligibility of aliens for public benefits before a non-profit charitable organization may distribute means-tested benefits to such aliens.

Section 511--Senate recedes to House section 607, with modifications. This section requires the Comptroller General to submit a report to the Committees on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Senate regarding the receipt of means-tested public benefits by ineligible aliens on behalf of U.S. citizens and eligible aliens. The managers note that illegal aliens often access public benefits, such as AFDC and Food Stamps, for which they themselves are ineligible, by applying for such benefits on behalf of their U.S. citizen or legal immigrant children.

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