Illegal immigrants admitted to the U.S. as refugees are immediately eligible for welfare, and households headed by legal immigrants are more likely to tap into America’s welfare system than native born Americans, according to a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies.
In a companion analysis to last week’s CIS study looking at all immigrant welfare use, Thursday CIS is set to release a follow up report breaking down welfare use separately for legal and illegal immigrant households.
According to the report, provided to Breitbart News in advance of its release, 49 percent of households headed by a legal immigrant participated in at least one welfare program in 2012, compared to 30 percent of native-headed households and 62 percent of illegal immigrant-headed households.
While there are restrictions on immigrant welfare use, the report highlights that such bars have not been particularly effective due to a wealth of exceptions.
Among the findings:
- Households headed by legal immigrants have higher use rates than native households overall and for cash programs (14 percent vs. 10 percent), food programs (36 percent vs. 22 percent), and Medicaid (39 percent vs. 23 percent). Use of housing programs is similar.
- An estimated 49 percent of households headed by legal immigrants used one or more welfare programs in 2012, compared to 30 percent of households headed by natives.
- Legal immigrant households account for three-quarters of all immigrant households accessing one or more welfare programs.
- Less-educated legal immigrants make extensive use of every type of welfare program, including cash, food, Medicaid, and housing.
- The overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants have modest levels of education; therefore, the high use of welfare associated with less-educated legal immigrants indicates that legalization would likely increase welfare costs, particularly for cash and housing programs.
- Restrictions on new legal immigrants’ access to welfare have not prevented them from accessing programs at high rates because restrictions often apply to only a modest share of immigrants at any one time, some programs are not restricted, there are numerous exceptions and exemptions, and some provisions are entirely unenforced. Equally important, immigrants, including those illegally in the country, can receive welfare on behalf of their U.S.-born children.
The high welfare use holds true even if the immigrant household has a worker present as the nation’s welfare system is largely designed to assist low-income workers with children. According to the report there was a worker present in 85 percent of legal immigrant-headed households and 95 percent of illegal immigrant-headed households.
“A person may work, but also create very significant costs for the welfare system. However, those costs are diffuse, borne by all taxpayers, while employers get the workers they want and the immigrants improve their lives by coming to the United States,” the report reads. “Focusing only on the desire of employers to bring in additional workers or the desire of immigrants to come to America misses the potentially enormous impact immigrant workers can have on American taxpayers.”
“When welfare is taken into consideration, allowing immigrant workers into the country to perform low-wage jobs is clearly problematic,” it continues. “It would, at least from the point of view of avoiding welfare expenditures, make more sense to hire from the enormous pool of less-educated natives not working rather than adding less-educated individuals through our immigration system.”
Read the full story at Breitbart