Center for Immigration Studies Releases Report: Welfare Use by Immigrant Households


Caryn Freeman 10:05PM EST
The National Press Club held a press conference today highlighting the Center for Immigration Studies most recent report by Director of Research, Steven A. Camoarota. The report outlined welfare use by immigrant households with children in the United States. The study defended the argument that illegal immigrants’ use of welfare does not have an extreme fiscal impact on the welfare system as a whole. The report concludes that 57% of immigrant households use some form of welfare while 39% of native households also receive some type of government assistance or welfare. The percentage of use in Hispanic households is nearly double that of native households at 71%. The report did also exclude the most expensive arms of welfare use such as housing subsidies and Medicare. One panelist, Iain Murray, Vice President for Strategy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute said, "I'd like to see the study go further." Pointing out that the report itself did not reflect the full measure of resources used by illegal immigrant populations by at times not including benefits received by children of illegal immigrants, citing them as US citizens. Mr. Murray also noted that urgent reform of social security is needed not immigration reform in order to address the mounting fiscal problems facing the U.S.  Mr. Murray an immigrant himself from the UK called the social security system "a huge Ponzi scheme."

Mickey Kaus blogger and author who has followed illegal immigration in California stated that immigration advocates outline immigration "as though there is no end in sight" and the level of discourse in California is such that "opponents of illegal immigration are labeled as racist." Kaus also estimated he net drain on the U.S. economy at 11-20 billion. This includes enforcement, welfare, education, prosecuting illegal immigrants, prison costs, etc. Another important point raised in today's press conference was the corresponding relationship of wages for unskilled native workers and the illegal immigrant presence in the U.S. economy. This is another burden brought on by the migration of millions of illegal immigrants. This new population affects the wages for low skilled US workers. "Illegal immigration drives down wages for the working poor while increasing welfare use for the native born", said Mr. Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He added that "more welfare means more poverty." In Maricopa County Arizona for example, welfare use among illegal immigrants is twice the rate of use in the native born population. Maricopa County has also seen a corresponding rise in the use of welfare assistance by the native born population.

More importantly the United States now has a significant population of under educated populations. A factor that has diminished the capacity of the United States to compete with other educated populations, such as China and the UK. One third of all immigrant households are headed by someone who has not graduated high school. Recent studies have concluded that the United States is desperate for an influx of higher skilled, workers to counter balance the millions of low skilled under educated populations that have migrated to the US in the last ten years. This is one immigration reform provision currently being considered in Washington, barring non-degreed immigrants from entering the U.S.

Panelists at today's press conference:
Steven A. Camarota, Director of Research, Center for Immigration Studies
Mickey Kaus, blogger and author, at the Daily Caller
Iain Murray, Vice President for Strategy, Competitive Enterprise Institute
Moderator: Mark Krikorian, Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies