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Immigrants house uses 41% more in welfare benefits than native house

Staff writer |
The Center for Immigration Studies released a new study on cost of immigrant welfare use.

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It finds that the average household headed by an immigrant used more than $6,200 in welfare benefits in 2012 – 41 percent more than a native household, when cash, food, Medicaid, and housing programs are considered together.

This follows up on an earlier report that looked at the rate of welfare use, which found that 51 percent of immigrant-headed households used at least one welfare program.

"Immigrants are such heavy users of welfare not because they don't work, but because, on average, they have little education and thus earn low wages," said Mark Krikorian, the Center's executive director.

"If we continue to permit large numbers of less-educated people to move here from abroad, we have to accept that there will be huge and ongoing costs to taxpayers."

Using 2012 data from the Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), a more complex and comprehensive dataset than typically employed by researchers, the report attributes the large difference in usage between immigrant and native-headed households to immigrant demographics.

Just as natives with low levels of education and large numbers of children are apt to consume welfare, immigrants with those same characteristics tend to consume a large amount of welfare as well.

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