With so many Americans unemployed, underemployed, out of the labor force, on food stamps, should we continue to spend billions on illegal aliens
Illegal Aliens and Federal Benefits
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Theoretically, the law forbids illegal aliens from receiving benefits reserved for American citizens with the exception of emergency Medicaid. In practice, it does not prevent any of them from applying for and receiving benefits paid for by American taxpayers who sometimes, are themselves denied benefits.
Emergency Medicaid provided in emergency rooms, although well intentioned, has been used and abused by illegal aliens as their own personal physician, resulting in the bankruptcy of many small hospitals across the nation, particularly in California.
Federal benefits distributed to illegal aliens include: grants, contracts, loans, professional and commercial licenses, retirement, welfare, WIC, disability, public housing, college education, Pell grants, food stamps, tax credits, earned income credits, tax refunds, and unemployment benefits.
The Census Bureau reports 40 million foreign-born people residing in the United States. In this category, one-third is estimated to be illegal aliens. Liberal mainstream media calls them “undocumented workers,” “in the shadows residents,” or “unauthorized residents.”
According to the Pew Hispanic Center there were 11.2 million “unauthorized immigrants” in 2010. Their in-house demographer, Jeffrey Passel, used 2008 Current Population Survey (CPS) to estimate “the number of persons living in families in which the head of household or the spouse was an authorized alien,” for a total of 8.8 million families. Liberals like to redefine illegal aliens with euphemisms that suit their agenda. Other sources publish much higher numbers of illegals.
Illegal alien families are likely to have U.S. citizen children or “anchor babies.” These families are given “mixed status” by the Congressional Research Service. Passel also estimates that one in three illegal alien children is poor. This is obvious since illegal aliens have fled their home countries mostly for economic reasons and dire poverty.
Liberals lobby Congress to deal with illegal aliens based on controversies such as demographic issues, how to treat illegal families that have “anchor babies” who are U.S. citizens, and how strict identification requirements may hurt Americans who are denied benefits.
Once a foreign national had crossed the border illegally, they have committed a crime which is not punished lightly in most countries. In the U.S. however, progressives demand that illegal aliens have due process rights, eligibility for federal assistance, educational opportunities paid by taxpayers, military service opportunities, employment rights, and pathways to citizenship. No other country in the world rewards law breaking with citizenship but the United States.
Illegal aliens, a.k.a. “unauthorized residents,” come in three categories:
- Visitors who overstay their nonimmigrant visas
- Foreign nationals who enter illegally (“surreptitiously” as liberals like to say)
- Foreign nationals who enter with forged documents
- Pregnant foreign nationals who enter illegally in the last month or trimester of pregnancy in order to deliver “anchor babies” (These foreigners have spawned organized “anchor baby tourism” in cities like New York)
According to “jus soli,” codified in the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, children of slaves born on U.S. soil are American citizens. Liberals extended this principle to the children of any illegal alien who happens to give birth on U.S. soil. Thus a new breed of families is codified by the Pew Hispanic Center as “mixed-immigration status families.” However, foreign diplomats’ children who are born on U.S. soil are citizens of their parents’ respective countries and not American citizens.
The Congressional Research Service which produces data for Congress identified another category of illegal immigrants, “Quasi-legal migrants.” In certain cases, the Department of Homeland Security issues temporary employment authorization documents (EADs) to aliens who are not authorized to reside in the United States. They can, however, obtain Social Security cards. The CRS identified several groups in this “quasi-legal” category:
- Those with temporary humanitarian relief who have Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
- Asylum seekers with cases pending for at least 180 days
- Those awaiting in the U.S. the resolution of legal permanent residency process (family and fiancées of legal residents)
- Tourists, students, and temporary workers who overstayed nonimmigrant visas with petitions awaiting to adjust status as employment-based LPRs (legal permanent resident)
The “quasi-legal” groups are often denied approval for legal permanent resident status. Twenty-five percent of asylum seekers and generally, 80-85% of LPRs petitions are eventually approved.
Special illegal alien immigrant juveniles (under the age of 21 and unmarried) who were homeless, orphans, or victims of abusive family situations are eligible for permanent legal residence and become dependents of the courts. The court grants custody of the child to a state agency, declares him/her eligible for foster care, and determines that it is not in the best interest of the child to return to his/her country of birth. Taxpayers then become de facto supporters of such children. According to CRS, since 2008, such children exceeded 1,000 each year.
“Permanently residing under the color of law,” (PRUCOL) has been used historically to give benefits to foreign nationals who are known to be residing in the U.S. yet the government has no plans to deport. “Quasi-legal” aliens fall in this category of PRUCOL.
Social Services Block Grants and migrant health center services are offered as limited exceptions within the 1996 welfare act:
- Treatment under Medicaid for emergency medical conditions (except organ transplant)
- Short-term emergency disaster relief
- Testing and treatment for communicable diseases
- Soup kitchens, crisis counseling, short-term shelters
- HUD assistance
Although the law clearly states to the contrary, pre-natal care, treatment, and assistance under Medicaid, CHIP, nutrition programs, and other benefits are given to illegal aliens, all funded by U.S. taxpayers.
Title IV of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation ACT (PRWORA) of 1996 (P.L. 104-193) “established comprehensive restrictions on the eligibility of all noncitizens for means-tested public assistance, with the exceptions for LPRs with a substantial U.S. work history or military connection.” PRWORA expressly bars illegal aliens from most state and locally funded benefits.
The Department of Labor estimated $53.8 billion in unemployment benefits were paid to illegal aliens in 2002 and IRS paid $4.2 billion in refundable tax credits in 2010 to illegal aliens. Unemployment compensation overpayment of 0.51% of total was made to illegal aliens. (Congressional Research Service, “Unauthorized Aliens’ Access to Federal Benefits: Policy and Issues, Ruth Ellen Wasem, September 17, 2012)
The Food Stamp Program reported that 1.9 million U.S. citizen children (“anchor babies”) living with illegal alien parents received food stamps, or 7% of all participants. Medicaid spent $2.5 billion, $2.2 billion on treatment for the uninsured, and $1.9 billion on food assistance programs, including emergency Medicaid and school lunch programs. According to Steven Camarota, Director of Research at the Center for Immigration Studies, “Many of the costs associated with illegals are due to their American-born children, who are awarded U.S. citizenship at birth…greater efforts at barring illegals from federal programs will not reduce costs because their citizen children can continue to access them.” (Steven A. Camarota, The High Cost of Cheap Labor: Illegal Immigration and the Federal Budget, Washington, D.C.: Center for Immigration Studies, August 2004)
At a time when so many Americans are unemployed, underemployed, out of the labor force, and 47 million Americans are on food stamps because of the disastrous economic policies pursued by the current administration, should we continue to spend billions of taxpayer dollars on illegal aliens who are the responsibility of their own countries?