Immigrant Welfare Abuse, Dependency Hits Americans in the Wallet

Published on September 12th, 2012

By Joe Guzzardi
August 13, 2012

Pulling into town soon—maybe where you live—will be the UndocuBus, the so called “Ride for Justice.” In a shameless exhibition of United States immigration law flouting, the bus has emblazoned on its side “Sin papels, sin miedo” (“without papers, without fear”).

According to its website, the UndocuBus ‘mission is to raise awareness among the public about illegal immigrants’ plight. The bus set out from Phoenix and will make several stops along the way to its final destination at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Riders and their supporters want to promote what they call a “love” agenda and, at the same time, “challenge the promoters of hate.”

This is more laugh out loud nonsense from open borders advocates. Almost nothing they claim is true. First, illegal immigrants don’t live in fear. They drive to job sites, shop at supermarkets and sit in medical clinic waiting rooms just like everyone else. Second, Americans are fully aware of legal and illegal immigrants’ presence. In its analysis titled “A Record Setting Decade of Immigration: 2000-2010,” the Center for Immigration Studies reported that based on Census Bureau data, in 2010 the foreign-born population reached 40 million, a historic high. More than 14 million arrived between 2000 and 2010. With immigration growth so dramatic, being unaware is impossible. Third, alien-orchestrated mass demonstrations are old hat and haven’t budged federal immigration policy an inch. In 2003, the “Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride” set out from Los Angeles and headed towards New York via Washington, D.C. Again in 2007, the “Dream across America” tour crossed the country in an effort to win converts. Despite endless positive media hoopla about the protests, Congress repeatedly rejected the DREAM Act and other legislation that would have rewarded illegal immigrants.

Instead of more protests staged by a small handful of anarchists and other malcontents who misrepresent the facts, the nation is overdue for an honest debate about the fiscal and societal consequences of annually accepting more than one million immigrants. High on the list of immigration-related problems is that legal immigrants have accessed welfare programs even though they are expressly forbidden from doing so.

Immigration regulations, specifically the Immigration and Nationality Act’s Section 212, strictly prohibits immigrants from being admitted if they are likely to become “public charges,” in other words, welfare recipients. But as is often the case with immigration issues, the difference between policy and reality is stark. Immigrants rely heavily on the federal government for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). As for food stamps, another heavily used program, the USDA is advertising in Spanish to encourage more immigrants to sign up.

In summary, according to updated Center for Immigration Studies’ research, 36 percent of immigrant-headed households receive benefits from at least one welfare program compared to just 23 percent of families headed by U.S. natives. Among households with children, immigrant welfare use exceeds non-immigrant use by a similarly wide margin: 57 percent to 40 percent.

Last week, Senators Jeff Sessions, Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch and Pat Roberts, ranking Republican members respectively of the Senate Budget, Judiciary, Finance and Agriculture Committees wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanding to know why the Obama administration refuses to protect American taxpayers from immigrant-perpetrated welfare abuse and fraud.

Although the question is relevant and appropriate, the senators should expect evasive non-answers, at best. More likely is that Napolitano and Clinton will, as they have consistently done, silently endorse the continuation of the existing welfare scandal that leaves Americans holding the bag.


Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. His columns have been syndicated since 1986. Contact him at [email protected]

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