Immigration has been much in the news for several years. Many articles are written about illegal immigrants because of murder and other crimes. Other news articles are about liberal judges throwing roadblocks in the way of Donald Trump. Some interesting articles on the cost of immigration are currently in the news, including this one. It says that seven out of ten immigrant-headed households in California receive taxpayer-funded welfare. This statement is based on a new report out this week about the costs of non-citizen immigrants.
Steven A. Camarota and Karen Zeigler of the Center for Immigration Studies posted a report on December 2, 2018, that is being quoted by numerous news agencies. The motto for this center is “Low-immigration, Pro-immigrant,” so the center must not be anti-immigrant even though it is for fewer ones entering the nation. Camarota is the director of research at the center, and Zeigler is the demographer. The title of their article immediately grabs one’s attention: “63% of Non-Citizen Households Access Welfare Programs –Compared to 35% of native households.” The article has some interesting information in it.
Camarota and Zeigler explain that about half of the non-citizens included in the data collected by the Census Bureau are in the United States illegally. Other non-citizens include holders of green cards (permanent resident who have not yet become citizens) and temporary visitors (foreign students and guest workers). There are rules and regulations that bar non-citizens from collecting welfare, and President Donald Trump has recently expanded “the list of programs that are considered welfare.” His new “public charge” rules state that illegal immigrants who receive help from any of these welfare programs will be prevented from ever becoming a legal permanent resident. This could be a problem for many people who are in the country illegally because an analysis of information in a survey by the Census Bureau “shows welfare use by households headed by non-citizens is very high.” This is most likely a major reason for Trump’s “new charge” and is obviously the reason that many of them stopped taking welfare when the new rules came out. The following information is among the report’s findings.
· In 2014, 63 percent of households headed by a non-citizen reported that they used at least one welfare program, compared to 35 percent of native-headed households.
· Welfare use drops to 58 percent for non-citizen households and 30 percent for native households if cash payments from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) are not counted as welfare. EITC recipients pay no federal income tax. Like other welfare, the EITC is a means-tested, anti-poverty program, but unlike other programs one has to work to receive it.
· Compared to native households, non-citizen households have much higher use of food programs (45 percent vs. 21 percent for natives) and Medicaid (50 percent vs. 23 percent for natives).
· Including the EITC, 31 percent of non-citizen-headed households receive cash welfare, compared to 19 percent of native households. If the EITC is not included, then cash receipt by non-citizen households is slightly lower than natives (6 percent vs. 8 percent).
· While most new legal immigrants (green card holders) are barred from most welfare programs, as are illegal immigrants and temporary visitors, these provisions have only a modest impact on non-citizen household use rates because: 1) most legal immigrants have been in the country long enough to qualify; 2) the bar does not apply to all programs, nor does it always apply to non-citizen children; 3) some states provide welfare to new immigrants on their own; and, most importantly, 4) non-citizens (including illegal immigrants) can receive benefits on behalf of their U.S.-born children who are awarded U.S. citizenship and full welfare eligibility at birth.
One can plainly see that non-citizen-headed households use the welfare programs at a much higher rate than native-headed households. In almost every category shown, the non-citizen-headed households used the welfare programs nearly twice as much as the native-headed households. This means that two-thirds of welfare benefits are going to households headed by non-citizens. It seems that the households use less welfare once they become naturalized citizens, but they still use more than native-headed households.
The report includes other summaries as well as numerous charts and figures for the serious student. This writer believes that the above information clearly tells us that the immigrants – both legal and illegal – are drawing nearly two-thirds of the welfare funds meant for citizens of the United States. When adding these costs to the other expenses caused by immigration, this writer believes that President Trump is absolutely correct in his attempt to slow the flow of immigrants into the nation and to stop welfare benefits from going to people in the nation illegally.