Urban League Statement on Executive Order Imposing Work Requirements on Federal Benefit Programs
WASHINGTON, DC (April 11, 2018) – Today, National Urban League President and CEO, Marc H. Morial, issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s Executive Order directing federal agencies to impose work requirements on recipients of public assistance programs:
“While cloaked in neutral language that seemingly expresses goals supported by many, the Executive Order is really a guise to dismantle public assistance and embrace stereotypes of welfare recipients, which will ultimately derail any hope of true economic independence for those who rely on these programs.
“Safety net programs are meant to provide a foundation from which efforts to achieve economic independence can take place. There is zero evidence that work requirements have done or will do anything to advance economic independence. In fact, most reviewers of the 1996 welfare reform law found that individuals who were forced to work took jobs that paid minimum or low wages and made them no more economically secure.
“The only groups that seem to benefit from work requirements are businesses that often exploit ‘cheap labor’ in the name of ‘opportunity’ and ‘economic mobility.’
“Despite the use of progressive terms like ‘empower,’ the intent of this order is clear–to enforce work requirements where they exist and expand them to where they don’t in order to limit access to poor Americans and immigrant populations.
“The National Urban League is vehemently opposed to the directives of this Executive Order. We will continue to work with lawmakers, civil rights and economic rights organizations to determine meaningful ways to create quality education and real job opportunities that lead to living wages and good benefits for low-income populations.”