Welfare or Work? New Rules for Immigrants



New rules under consideration by the Trump administration would make it tougher for immigrants on welfare to get green cards. It’s time to get cracking.

More than half of all noncitizen children and teens in the United States receive taxpayer-funded assistance, mostly Medicaid, while nearly half of all noncitizen adults legally in the country are on some form of welfare, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

The MPI report found 54.2 percent of noncitizen minors up to age 17 receive at least one of four major public welfare benefits (Medicaid, cash welfare, food stamps or Social Security benefits). For those ages 18-54, the figure is 46.3 percent, and 47.8 percent for older aliens.

By comparison, 32 percent of the U.S.-born population receives some form of welfare. That’s not great but, as we are tirelessly told, legal immigrants are, on average, more highly educated than the native-born.

Another study — “Better Educated, Not Better Off” — found that welfare use by new immigrants, even including those with college degrees, tripled in the past 10 years.

In addition to tightening standards for aliens already in the country, the proposed reforms being finalized this month would reshape future legal immigration flows.

“Specifically, it would become more difficult for children, the elderly, persons with lower levels of education and/or limited English proficiency, and those with incomes under 250 percent of the federal poverty level to enter and remain in the United States,” the MPI report stated.

On that last note, the administration is looking to strengthen the standard for when receipt of public benefits can be used as grounds for deporting legally present noncitizens.

Shifting from family-based chain migration to a merit-driven system is the only rational response to America’s need for productive citizens. This policy reform enhances immigrants’ prospects for success while lifting an unsustainable burden from U.S. taxpayers.

MPI, a pro-migrant think tank, worries that the Trump administration could implement immigrant-welfare reforms “without the involvement of Congress.” Amid the chronic gridlock and dysfunction on Capitol Hill, that’s a strong selling point.

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

8 Comments

  1. avatar
    Homer Hickok on

    A way to eieminate around 90% of the problem is to pass the law:
    ‘US Benefits To US Citiizens. PERIOD!

  2. avatar

    For all those people who, with tears in their eyes, babble on about the Statue of Liberty and “when your great grandparents came here”, they never mention that many of those who arrived at Ellis Island were turned around and sent back because they might become a “public charge”. Those admitted made it on their own. There was no welfare to fall back on.

    It never gets wackier than the stuck on stupid state, California. The Berkley City Council is insisting we need “population control” because we have a “climate emergency”. Except they will bristle with indignation should anyone propose that immigration only makes the problem worse. Both here and in the countries immigrants come from, because they live their lives thinking of coming here without addressing their own problems.

    The web site 24/7 Wall Street just issued their list of the 25 most polluted cities in the country. Get ready for the shock of your life. Ok, not really, you already know. 11 of the 25 are in California, including the top 5. But don’t dare suggest that the obvious solution is stop admitting more people from overseas. And it’s not just the politicians. Look at the moron voters who keep voting for them. They can’t figure out that sitting in bumper to bumper traffic 15 hours a day is not a good idea. Split into 3 states? Just 3 times the stupidity.

      • avatar

        More troll nonsense. If you bothered to read this very article you would see immigrants are more likely to be on welfare. Apparently you believe that we should be allowing in people who are more likely to use welfare than native born Americans. Please explain how that is a positive for this country. No speeches and deflecting. Just answer the question.

  3. avatar

    I think that a requirement to Welfare, undocumented aliens should have to go through a process of becoming a legal citizen. If they became legal citizens, there would be no reason for them to fill discriminated against. It is so unfair of illegals coming here, and getting all the freebies that tax payers have to pay for with our taxes. As long as they are allowed to get everything free, they won’t become citizens, so send them back to their home Countries, and see if they can get the same treatment there. It was a law many years ago, that anyone wishing to come to the US, had to apply for citizenship, pay a fee, and learn the English language, and that is the way it should be, but through the years, the ball was dropped and all these illegals started migrating here. We, as citizens do not get to freeload, at least I don’t, so why should they?

  4. avatar

    Hope he follows through on this. He needs to.

    People should not be coming to this country to take advantage of her,

  5. avatar
    Diana Talmadge on

    The so called immigrants have no intention of working for a living..they enjoy freeloading too much!

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