Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), the welfare program for families living in poverty, is accessible by illegal aliens on behalf of their U.S.-born children. In those instances, the cases are identified as “child-only” cases. Not all “child-only” cases are the children of illegal aliens; it is one of four categories, and in some cases the parents may be recent immigrants not yet eligible for welfare benefits.

On September 8, the director in the Government Accountability Office that overseas the TANF program testified before Congress that the share of immigrant “child-only” families that received TANF increased from 10.8% in 2000 to 19.1% in 2008. The number of “child-only” families was more than half (50.5%) of all TANF families in 2008, numbering 814,977. The immigrant status cases therefore numbered about 155,660 families.