Friday, September 11, 2015

Immigrant Welfare Addiction

This is my article in today's FrontPageMag:

Immigrant Welfare Addiction

By Matthew Vadum

Non-citizens in the U.S. -- and especially recent Middle Eastern refugees -- are addicted to welfare programs, two newly released studies suggest.
Although open-borders propaganda typically claims that illegal aliens are hardworking and industrious, one of the reports unveiled yesterday showed that among illegal alien households with children, a shocking 87 percent accept benefits from one or more welfare programs, compared to just 52 percent of native households.
The reports come as a rancorous debate rages in American society over what immigration policies best serve the economic, cultural, and national security interests of the United States. Americans on both sides of the partisan divide are becoming increasingly angry that the nation's borders are porous and that illegal aliens are able to access generous government benefits upon arrival. Presidential candidate Donald Trump has rocketed to the top of the GOP field largely by opposing amnesty and pushing for the enforcement of existing laws, including the removal of millions of illegals.
Although illegal aliens impose a heavy burden on taxpayers, legal permanent residents are even more likely to be enamored of public welfare programs, according to Steven Camarota, the author of one of the reports and director of research at the respected nonpartisan Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).
"Welfare use by illegal immigrant households is certainly a concern, but the bigger issue is welfare use by legal immigrants," said Camarota.

Legal immigrant households make extensive use of most welfare programs, while illegal alien households primarily benefit from food programs and Medicaid through U.S.-born children. According to the report, low levels of education, as opposed to a refusal to work, help to explain this higher use of welfare by legal aliens, who are also known as lawful permanent residents (green card holders). The report states:
The most extensive use of welfare is by less-educated immigrants who are in the country legally. Of households headed by legal immigrants without a high school diploma, 75 percent use one or more welfare programs, as do 64 percent of households headed by legal immigrants with only a high school education.
In other words, it's not that these immigrants don't want to work -- many are simply unemployable because they don't have the skills needed for the jobs available.
"All of this means that President George W. Bush was wrong when he argued that all that matters is matching a willing worker with a willing employer," Camarota wrote separately at National Review Online. "It’s time to give preference to immigrants who are unlikely to use welfare programs."
Worker skill levels dropped after the enactment of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1965 which began the flood of immigrants from countries hostile to the traditional American values of limited government, individualism, and a healthy respect for markets and civil society. When the INA was overhauled, a "national origins" formula calculated to maintain the existing population demographic in the nation as of 1924, was dumped in favor of one based on immigrants' skills and family relationships with U.S. citizens or residents. 
This means that instead of competing in the marketplace of ideas, Democrats rigged the game by changing immigration law in order to import Democrat voters. The tsunami of immigrants from authoritarian Third World countries over the past half century helped Democrats grow their political base. According to some experts, it takes generations for immigrant families to back away from collectivism and big government as solutions to life's problems and become Republicans. Continued high immigration rates benefit Democrats and virtually guarantee endless growth in the size and scope of government.
Camarota's study also asserts that regularizing the status of illegal aliens would increase welfare burdens. Because the overwhelming majority of illegals have only modest levels of education, the heavy reliance on welfare associated with less-educated lawful immigrants "indicates that legalization would likely increase welfare costs, particularly for cash and housing programs."
Rules curtailing lawful immigrants' use of welfare "have not prevented them from accessing programs at high rates because restrictions often apply to only a modest share of immigrants at any one time." 
"Some programs are not restricted, there are numerous exceptions and exemptions, and some provisions are entirely unenforced. Equally important, immigrants, including those illegally in the country, can receive welfare on behalf of their U.S.-born children."
Like his Republican predecessor, President Obama has little, if any, interest in enforcing the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act dealing with so-called public charges. Such individuals, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), can be rejected as immigrants to the U.S. if they are considered likely to become “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.” 
Despite the law public charges don't get turned away nowadays and as a result three quarters of immigrant households receiving welfare assistance are headed by legal immigrants, who are also known as lawful permanent residents (green card holders).
"Legal immigration is supposed to benefit the country, yet so many legal immigrants are not able to support themselves or their children," according to the CIS report.
Of legal immigrant households with children, 72 percent access one or more welfare programs, compared to 52 percent of native households. Of households headed by illegal aliens, 62 percent used one or more welfare programs in 2012, compared to 30 percent of native households. Around 49 percent of households headed by lawfully present aliens used one or more welfare programs in 2012, versus 30 percent of households headed by natives.
Of legal immigrant households with children, 72 percent access one or more welfare programs, compared to 52 percent of native households. Of households headed by lawful immigrants, 62 percent used one or more welfare programs in 2012, compared to 30 percent of native households. Of illegal alien households with children, 87 percent access one or more welfare programs, versus 52 percent of native households.
Under the current immigration system another 20 to 25 million new legal immigrants will arrive in the U.S. in the next two decades, according to Camarota.
The overwhelming majority will come because they have a relative here, not because of their skills. If we want to avoid high immigrant welfare use in the future, we will have to move to a highly selective legal-immigration system that admits primarily skilled immigrants who are unlikely to use these programs. If we choose not to make such changes, we must accept without complaint the welfare costs created by the current system.
The other new study, from the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), stated that in fiscal 2013, an astounding 91.4 percent of Middle Eastern refugees admitted to the U.S. between 2008 and 2013 received food stamps. Another 73.1 percent were on Medicaid or Refugee Medical Assistance and 68.3 percent received cash welfare, according to data provided to Breitbart News by congressional committee staffers working for conservative champion Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama).
Upwards of 90 percent of recent refugees from Middle Eastern countries receive food stamp benefit and close to 70 percent take in cash assistance, according to the government report. For the purposes of the study the ORR defines the Middle East as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and Yemen.
From fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2013 the U.S. took in 115,617 refugees from the Middle East and granted asylum to another 10,026. The U.S. government also provided green cards to 308,805 immigrants from those Middle Eastern countries which makes them eligible to seek U.S. citizenship in five years and petition to have family members admitted to the country as immigrants. The top 10 source countries for refugees coming to the U.S. were identified by Sessions staffers as Iraq, Burma, Bhutan, Somalia, Cuba, Iran, Congo, Sudan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia.
The two reports come as the Obama administration moves forward with plans to accept 10,000 refugees from Syria in the coming fiscal year which begins Oct. 1. This represents a 567 percent increase over the 1,500 Syrian refugees that have received permission to resettle in the U.S. since civil war broke out in that terrorist-besieged Muslim country four years ago.
The reports also come as the leader of the U.S. Border Patrol agents' labor union told a congressional oversight committee that the Obama administration is painting an unjustifiably rosy picture about border security. 
Most of the U.S.-Mexico border is unsecured and 20 percent of illegal aliens apprehended at that border have criminal records, said Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council. 
Based on what his members have told him, "we would be lucky if we're [at] 40 percent" operational control of the border, he said. Operational control "is deemed to be when agents have a good chance of deterring or catching almost all illegal crossers," according to the Washington Times
If President Obama and his allies in the open-borders movement get their way, that 40 percent figure will drop to zero.

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