by Dr. Eowyn
A new study by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) found that, in spite of “barriers designed to prevent welfare use” by non-citizens, as many as 63% of non-U.S. citizen households in America have received some form of government welfare “often receiving benefits on behalf of U.S.-born children.”
In contrast, only 35% of U.S. citizen households accessed welfare.
- Illegal aliens, who make up about half of America’s non-citizen population.
- Permanent residents (green card holders) who have not naturalized.
- Long-term temporary visitors, e.g. guestworkers and foreign students.
Methodology: For the study, CIS employed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 (and newest-available) Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) — a longitudinal (i.e., followed over several years) dataset of nationally representative samples of U.S. households. Welfare use is based on self-reporting, which means there is some misreporting. Given the human propensity to lie in one’s self-interest, that suggests the actual percentage of non-citizen households on welfare is likely higher than 63%.
Here are the findings:
- In 2014, 63% of households headed by a non-citizen reported that they used at least one welfare program, compared to 35% of native-headed households.
- The percentages of non-citizen vs. citizen households on welfare for the top four states are:
- California: 72% vs. 35%.
- Texas: 69% vs. 35%.
- New York: 53% vs. 38%.
- Florida: 56% vs. 35%.
- No single program explains non-citizens’ higher overall welfare use:
- Food programs: 45% of non-citizen households vs. 21% of citizen households.
- Medicard: 50% of non-citizen households vs. 23% of citizen households.
- Cash welfare, including Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): 31% of non-citizen households vs. 19% of citizen households. EITC is a means-tested welfare program, but unlike other programs one has to work to receive it. EITC recipients pay no federal income tax.
- Welfare-use is higher for every type of non-citizen households(illegals, permanent residents, long-term visitors), except in the case of housing programs.
- The longer the non-citizens are in the U.S., the more they are on welfare: Whereas 50% of non-citizen households in the United States for fewer than 10 years use one or more welfare programs, 70% of those who have been in the U.S. for more than 10 years on are welfare.
- Low education is the reason for non-citizens being on welfare:
- Although 93% of non-citizen households receiving welfare have at least one worker, they often earn low wages (because of their low education) and, therefore, qualify for welfare at higher rates than citizens.
- 58% of all non-citizen households are headed by individuals with no more than a high school education, compared to 36% of citizen households.
Why non-citizens get welfare:
- Most legal immigrants have been in the country long enough to qualify.
- The barrier preventing non-citizens from receiving welfare does not apply to all programs, nor does it always apply to non-citizen children.
- Some states provide welfare to new immigrants on their own.
- Most importantly, non-citizens (including illegal immigrants) can receive benefits on behalf of their U.S.-born children who are awarded U.S. citizenship and full welfare eligibility at birth.