More than 50% of immigrants on welfare – or are they?

money1Over 50% of the immigrants currently living in the United States are on some form of welfare from the US government, which is considerably more than the figure for the native-born population, according to a new study released by a conservative immigration group.

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) report reveals that 51% of all households led by immigrants in the United States receive federal aid of one form or another, such as food stamps, housing assistance and Medicaid, in comparison to just 30% of households led by those born in the country. The number of government-aided immigrant households increases to 76% when children are included in the statistics, paralleled by a rise to 52% in native-born households.

“This should not be understood as some kind of defect or moral failing on the part of immigrants,” says the report’s author and the Center’s research director, Steven Camarota. “Rather, what it represents is a system that allows a lot of less-educated immigrants to settle in the country, who then earn modest wages and are eligible for a very generous welfare system.”

The Center’s findings are sure to ignite further debate on immigration, which has dominated the presidential candidacy race thus far and has seen calls for all kinds of changes ranging from the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants to the creation of a pathway to US citizenship; however, immigration policy analyst Alex Nowrasteh, who works for the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity at the Cato Institute, claims the household variable used by the CIS is ambiguous and poorly defined.