Congress passed legislation in 1996 that required immigrants to wait five years to access federal benefits. Fortunately, LIFT the BAR Act was introduced by Democrats to provide them instant access instead.In 1996, the U.S. Congress passed legislation that required immigrants to wait five years after acquiring official immigration status before gaining access to federal benefits. Reportedly, the five-year waiting period was part of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act signed into law by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
However, an article on Protecting Immigrant Families states that on June 15, democrats in the Senate and the House introduced the “LIFT the BAR Act” that would provide immigrants instant access to the federal benefits. Under the bill, Democratic Representatives Tony Cardenas and Pramila Jayapal and Senator Mazie Hirono stated that the five years of waiting will no longer apply.
Debate on the LIFT the BAR Act
According to Kasperowicz, the LIFT the BAR Act was introduced in the midst of what Republicans called an immigration crisis. This is because millions of migrants illegally cross into the U.S. and Republicans believe that apart from exhausting the federal resources, they would also be a means of drug trafficking. However, groups that support the LIFT the BAR Act argue that ending the five-year wait is required to guarantee that the migrants will be successful in the U.S.