Importing Welfare Recipients

As if there isn’t enough to worry about these days. Now there’s this new report by the Center for Immigration Studies documenting welfare use by immigrants, both legal and illegal, in the United States. It’s utterly depressing and frustrating. No wonder so many people stop paying attention. But burying our heads in the sand isn’t going to help matters.

A few of the findings:

  • In 2009 (based on data collected in 2010), 57 percent of households headed by an immigrant (legal and illegal) with children (under 18) used at least one welfare program, compared to 39 percent for native households with children.
  • Immigrant households’ use of welfare tends to be much higher than natives for food assistance programs and Medicaid. Their use of cash and housing programs tends to be similar to native households.
  • A large share of the welfare used by immigrant households with children is received on behalf of their U.S.-born children, who are American citizens. But even households with children comprised entirely of immigrants (no U.S.-born children) still had a welfare use rate of 56 percent in 2009.
  • Immigrant households with children used welfare programs at consistently higher rates than natives, even before the current recession. In 2001, 50 percent of all immigrant households with children used at least one welfare program, compared to 32 percent for natives.
  • Households with children with the highest welfare use rates are those headed by immigrants from the Dominican Republic (82 percent), Mexico and Guatemala (75 percent), and Ecuador (70 percent). Those with the lowest use rates are from the United Kingdom (7 percent), India (19 percent), Canada (23 percent), and Korea (25 percent).
  • The states where immigrant households with children have the highest welfare use rates are Arizona (62 percent); Texas, California, and New York (61 percent); Pennsylvania (59 percent); Minnesota and Oregon (56 percent); and Colorado (55 percent).

We constantly hear stories of productive immigrants being deported for various reasons. Why is that? Because they aren’t dependent on the government, and therefore aren’t useful to politicians? I’m all for helping those in need, but isn’t that why we have private charity? I often read about refugees who come to our community that are helped by local churches. They help them get set up and then the immigrants go out and get jobs. At least that’s the way it’s supposed to work. But even after the study removed refugees from the statistics, 57% still are on welfare. And this is a self-reporting study, so the statistics are probably even worse than reported.

Heritage estimates that welfare spending will cost us $10.3 trillion (with a T) over the next ten years. And National Review points out that we now have US cities with lower per capita income than Mexico! How much longer can we keep this up? And how many of the immigrants on welfare are working under the table, earning income while crying poverty and receiving benefits?

Well, I guess this is to be expected when you have politicians who’ve created a massive welfare state. Who wouldn’t want to come here and ride the gravy train? But as Margaret Thatcher wisely noted, sooner or later you run out of other people’s money. Then what?

Via memeorandum