Legal immigrant households dominate welfare use in the United States, a new study shows.
About half of all legal immigrant households use welfare, and they account for 75% of all immigrant household welfare use, reported the Center for Immigration Studies in a follow up to last week’s report that more than half of all immigrants in the United States use welfare.
Using Census Bureau data, CIS estimated 49% of households headed by legal immigrants used one or more welfare programs in 2012, compared to 30% of households headed by natives and 62% of households headed by illegal immigrants.
That number jumps to 70% if the legal immigrant households include kids.
There is a worker present in 85% of legal immigrant households, but many of them are eligible for welfare because they are not highly educated and earn low wages. Those legal immigrant households that do take advantage of welfare make up 75% of all immigrant welfare use.
CIS, an advocate for reduced immigration levels, found a lack of education is a bigger driver of immigrant welfare use than legal status. And because most illegal immigrants are only modestly educated, CIS concludes granting them legal status would increase welfare costs, especially for cash and housing programs.
Legal immigrant households use more welfare overall and cash, food, and Medicaid programs, CIS found. Fourteen percent of legal immigrant households use cash programs, compared to 10% of native households. Thirty-six percent of legal immigrant households use food programs, compared to 22% of native households.
And 39% of legal immigrant households use Medicaid, compared to 23% of native households.
“Welfare use by illegal immigrant households is certainly a concern, but the bigger issue is welfare use by legal immigrants,” report author Steven Camarota, director of research at CIS, said in a statement Thursday.
The U.S. is set to add a bloc of new permanent immigrants — 10 million — in the next decade that is larger than the combined populations of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, if Congress does not reduce the number of green cards issued each year.
Green cards guarantee immigrants a lifetime work authorization, access to federal welfare, Social Security and Medicare, the ability to obtain citizenship and voting privileges and the immigration of their close relatives.
The U.S. foreign-born population has reached an all time high of 42.1 million — helped along by a rebounding Mexican immigrant population — and is now 13% of the U.S. population.
By 2023 the Census Bureau projects the foreign-born population will exceed 51 million — the largest share of total population ever recorded in American history. And nearly one in five U.S. residents will be an immigrant by 2060, largely because of legal immigration, not illegal immigration.
This report, by Rachel Stoltzfoos, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.