Where’s the benefit? Welfare usage by immigrants vs native households

A couple years ago the Center for Immigration Studies published this landmark study on welfare usage by immigrant households (both legal and illegal) as compared to native households.  Here are a few of the key findings from the study:

  • The average household headed by an immigrant (legal or illegal) costs taxpayers $6,234 in federal welfare benefits, which is 41 percent higher than the $4,431 received by the average native household.
  • The average immigrant household consumes 33 percent more cash welfare, 57 percent more food assistance, and 44 percent more Medicaid dollars than the average native household. Housing costs are about the same for both groups.
  • At $8,251, households headed by immigrants from Central America and Mexico have the highest welfare costs of any sending region — 86 percent higher than the costs of native households.
  • Illegal immigrant households cost an average of $5,692 (driven largely by the presence of U.S.-born children), while legal immigrant households cost $6,378.
  • The greater consumption of welfare dollars by immigrants can be explained in large part by their lower level of education and larger number of children compared to natives. Over 24 percent of immigrant households are headed by a high school dropout, compared to just 8 percent of native households. In addition, 13 percent of immigrant households have three or more children, vs. just 6 percent of native households.

Beyond this, more than half (51%) of ALL IMMIGRANT-HEADED HOUSEHOLDS use at least one federal welfare program, compared to 30% for native households.  See below for additional figures from the study.  The results are conclusive and altogether not surprising for many who read here, but this information must be passed around for everyone to see.

Remember, we’re being sold this as if we will perish without immigration.  The reality is we’ll perish if we continue immigration at its current levels.  Immigrants cost more money than they produce, plain and simple.  The average immigrant household is a net negative to the American taxpayer.  The stats above already show that we have a big enough welfare problem with native households as it is.  Further, these are not your great-great-grandparents’ immigrants.  We’re constantly told this is a nation of immigrants, which is patently false, and that we’ve always been welcoming.  The reality is the immigrants who came to Ellis Island did not have welfare benefits to welcome them when they got off the ships.  The only reward once getting off the boat was the OPPORTUNITY to work.  That was the American Dream.  Today, the American Dream is to be on the public dole once they get here.

There’s something of a trend in the graph above that is also worrying, though not altogether surprising.  Since 1965 the type of immigrant that has come here has changed drastically.  During the initial wave of immigrants in the 19th century the vast majority of them were of European descent.  The vast majority of immigrants today (both legal and illegal) hail from Central and South America.  And as the graph above shows the immigrants from Central and South America cost the average taxpayer much more than other demographic groups.  Again, how is this a benefit to America and its citizens?  These are tough discussions, and make some people uncomfortable.  But a little discomfort is far preferable than to say nothing and watch the destruction occur without doing anything for fear of offending someone.

Here are some of the conclusions of the study:

This study implies that two competing narratives about immigration are both true. Immigrants do indeed have a strong attachment to the labor force, as immigration advocates often point out. At the same time, however, immigrants consume a large amount of welfare spending, just as critics claim. The reason that both narratives are true is that the American welfare system has become increasingly focused on buttressing low-wage workers rather than supporting non-workers. Put more simply, welfare and low-wage work go together. Just as natives with low levels of education and large numbers of children are apt to consume welfare, immigrants with those same characteristics are also likely to be on welfare. A strong work ethic does not change this reality.

In order to reduce the cost of immigrant welfare use, either the welfare system or the immigration system must change. The former option is sometimes described as “building a wall around the welfare state” to prevent new immigrants from accessing it. It is easier said than done. Loopholes and exceptions have weakened previous attempts to limit immigrant access to welfare.18 More importantly, Congress has no power to prevent the U.S.-born children of immigrants from using the same welfare programs that the children of natives do. No matter how strong the “wall around the welfare state” is built, it cannot stop immigrant parents from signing up their U.S.-born children for Medicaid, SNAP, free school lunch, etc., as long as native parents can do the same.

Only a full-scale rollback of the welfare state for both immigrants and natives would prevent immigrant families from consuming welfare dollars. Whatever one thinks of that proposal, it is not a policy change likely to occur in the near future.19 In fact, importing new clients of the welfare state likely makes it even harder to roll back.20 As long as the U.S. continues to admit large numbers of low-skill immigrants (legal or illegal), then immigrant welfare consumption will remain high.

I’ve said before it is simply not feasible to continue immigration as we are currently doing it and be a welfare state.  That is suicide.  There is no other word for it.  We need to drastically cut down on legal immigration, and make it easier to deport illegal aliens.  Anchor babies can become citizens automatically.  This needs to stop.  Chain migration will break the back of the country.

Unfortunately, the national deficit is an abstract enough concept that nobody ever really takes it seriously.  Because we do not feel the effects of it on our everyday lives (noticeably anyway) it doesn’t feel like it’s a serious problem to most people.  It should.  And the word needs to be spread.  If the national deficit is too abstract a concept, remind people that a constant stream of legal immigrants and illegal aliens means more housing.  When’s the last time you thought you were getting a great deal on rent?  Or that housing prices were too low?  Or how about traffic?  It sounds silly, but they need to drive too.  When’s the last time you thought California could handle more cars on the road?  Or use the liberal’s arguments against them.  You want higher wages for workers?  Well, less low-skilled labor in the workplace will reduce the supply and invariably raise the wages for the workers that are left.  We need to start shifting the argument.  We have the high ground, we just need to use it better.

Financial advice in a socialist country

One of the greatest problems of any civilization is forgetting about the past.  We can’t learn from history’s mistakes if we don’t read up on it, or as is more often the case with our education system these days, if we’re not taught about it in the first place (or taught an alternate version).  Enter socialism, a system that no matter how many times it proves to be a total trainwreck, rears its ugly head over and over again.  And we’re promised that “last time it didn’t work, but this time it totally will”.  This article from The Economist explains some of the pains many in Venezuela have to go through because of socialism.

ASK the chief investment officer of a fund-management firm how to spread your investments and you will be told to put so much in stocks, so much in bonds and something in hedge funds or private equity. Chances are that white-elephant buildings, eggs and long-life milk will not feature. But in Venezuela, where the inflation rate is in the tens of thousands, things that people elsewhere would shun for fear they will lose value have become stores of real wealth.

That is why you can see scaffolding and other signs of a building boom dotted around Caracas, the capital of a country that has endured an economic collapse. Businesses need to park their earnings where they will not be wiped out by inflation. A smaller-scale response to galloping prices is the emerging “egg economy”. Eggs hold their value better than cash, for a while at least. They make for a convenient currency, too. It is easier to carry around a half-dozen eggs than a trunkful of banknotes. And many tradespeople would be happier to receive the eggs.

Is that the kind of place we want to live?  Where eggs are the currency and hold more value?  Or where a car is a better investment vehicle (har har) than a mutual fund?  The nation that has the largest oil reserves by country in the world should never in any circumstances be in the kind of financial trouble that they are in.  Socialism has the ability to destroy even the richest of natural resources.

Let this serve as a reminder to us.  Socialism, not now, not ever.

socialism