‘Either we select future immigrants unlikely to need welfare … or we accept the welfare burden that comes from our current immigration system…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) Non-citizen households in the United States are nearly twice as likely as native households to accept government welfare programs, according to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies.
The Trump administration new “public charge” rules to address the issue of non-citizens collecting welfare at such high rates. Public charge refers to people who rely on government welfare for their income.
The new rules would define more government programs as welfare.
They will also allow U.S. immigration authorities to take into account the likelihood of immigrants receiving public assistance when deciding whether to grant green cards, which give lawful permanent residency.
The rule change would require immigration authorities to review educational attainment and income—since these help predict future welfare dependence—as factors in determining eligibility for lawful permanent residency status.
CIS studied welfare rates among American citizens and non-citizens (legal and illegal) to determine whether the Trump administration’s rule changes are necessary.
“Although most immigrants work, a large share have low levels of education resulting in low incomes—the primary reason so many access the welfare system,” said Steven Camarota, CIS Director of Research, who wrote the report.
“Either we select future immigrants unlikely to need welfare by emphasizing skills and education, or we accept the welfare burden that comes from our current immigration system.”
The CIS report found that 63 percent of households headed by non-citizens accept at least one government welfare program, compared with 35 percent of households headed by citizens.
Non-citizen households use food-assistance programs and Medicaid at more than twice the rate of U.S. citizens.
Only 21 percent of native households collect assistance for food, compared with 45 percent of non-citizen households.
And 23 percent of native households use Medicaid, compared to 50 percent of non-citizen households.
Welfare dependence does not lessen over time, according to the report.
For households headed by non-citizens who have lived in the United States for less than 10 years, acceptance of at least one welfare program is at 50 percent.
For households headed by non-citizens who have lived in the United for more than 10 years, 70 percent collect benefits from at least one welfare program.