Governors Fudge on Welfare Change

  • Share
  • Read Later
WASHINGTON, D.C.: The National Governors Association and President Clinton are doing a complicated dance around the issue of restoring benefits to legal American immigrants. Clinton answered a plea from the governors Monday to provide more federal welfare support for legal immigrants with a firm "We'll see." The governors spent the weekend in Washington, D.C. framing a contradictory plan asking the federal government to find a way to provide the funding the states will need to cover benefits for legal immigrants without specifically asking Congress to revise the language of welfare reform, which blocked federal funding for some of those benefits. The governors had dropped a more explicit demand that the federal government restore Medicaid, disability and food stamps benefits for legal immigrants. Governors of states with heavy immigration, such as California, Florida and New York, remain concerned that the bureaucratic backlogs delaying the granting of citizenship to legal immigrants is leaving thousands of legal residents of the U.S. in a benefits no-manís-land. Says 59-year-old Korean native Chul Baek, a resident of Los Angeles who depends on federal benefits for treatment of his mental illness: "I have no idea how I'm going to live without this."