“There can be no doubt that some minimum of food, shelter and clothing, sufficient to preserve health and the capacity to work, can be assured to everybody. … Nor is there any reason why the state should not assist the individuals in providing for those common hazards of life against which, because of their uncertainty, few individuals can make adequate provision.”

- Friedrich Hayek, “The Road to Serfdom”

The 2018 legislative session is quickly approaching and legislators seem to be starting with their worst ideas.

Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, has proposed to reinstate an antiquated, appropriately abandoned, requirement that legal immigrants wait five years before receiving services from Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Christensen isn’t worried about these programs running out of money; saving money is not his motivation. The federal government pays for the Medicaid costs for new immigrants. What Christensen is worried about is a “fairness issue.” Christensen said, “Do we welcome immigrants and say the minute you get here you can have Medicaid when a lot of our people who are already here don’t?”

Actually, yes. That is what we should do.

And who are “our people?” Is Christensen really so xenophobic that legal immigrants to America are “them” and we are “us?” At what point do legal immigrants become “us,” if ever?

Lee Davidson of the Salt Lake Tribune reported that such a move would “strip CHIP coverage from 475 legal-immigrant children who recently qualified for it,” not to mention the thousands of future children and immigrant adults who would not receive such services in their first five years of legal immigration.

So, not only are we deporting mothers of young citizen children, but we’re now going to forbid legal immigrants from receiving necessary services during an arbitrary five year period.

This country was founded on the principle that every person deserves a safe haven. We chose this magnanimous role, and we continue to value it. It is this country’s, and this state’s, legacy.

We can’t very well invite immigrants here and then say, in this country of privilege and excess, good luck on your own. We hope you survive. We hope you don’t get sick. We hope you develop marketable skills, and quickly. Good luck.

We require them to pay sales tax and payroll taxes. We require them to obey laws and act as citizens do. We set rules and requirements for them to immigrate legally. We require them to act like citizens. They deserve the benefits that citizens earn.