Study: 51% of immigrants receiving public assistance

The Center for Immigration Studies has released a shocking report showing that 51% of immigrant households - both legal and illegal - receive some kind of public assistance compared to just 30% of native born households.

The study should add fuel to the immigration debate, putting Democrats and immigration reform advocates on the defensive.

From the executive summary:

This study is the first in recent years to examine immigrant (legal and illegal) and native welfare use using the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). While its complexity makes it difficult to use, the survey is widely regarded as providing the most accurate picture of welfare participation. The SIPP shows immigrant households use welfare at significantly higher rates than native households, even higher than indicated by other Census surveys.

  • In 2012, 51 percent of households headed by an immigrant (legal or illegal) reported that they used at least one welfare program during the year, compared to 30 percent of native households. Welfare in this study includes Medicaid and cash, food, and housing programs.
  • Welfare use is high for both new arrivals and well-established immigrants. Of households headed by immigrants who have been in the country for more than two decades, 48 percent access welfare.
  • No single program explains immigrants’ higher overall welfare use. For example, not counting subsidized school lunch, welfare use is still 46 percent for immigrants and 28 percent for natives. Not counting Medicaid, welfare use is 44 percent for immigrants and 26 percent for natives.

The biggest shocker for me is in the second to last bullet point; 48% of immigrants here two decades or longer are receiving public assistance. It may be, as for many working class families, that many of them go on and off the dole depending on the economy over those two decades. But that's still an alarming statistic that speaks to the lack of upward mobility of  many immigrant familes.

It's a shame that the study doesn't differentiate between legal and illegal immigrants. If it did, we could get a much better handle on the resource drain due to illegals accessing public benefits. But cities and towns across the country are already feeling the pinch in every way - from local budgets, to housing, health care, and education. 

They don't need a study to know how bad things are and how imperative it is that we stem the flow of illegals crossing our border.