By the Numbers: Welfare for Illegals

Noncitizens consume far more in welfare benefits and are much less likely to have health insurance.

Jordan Candler · Dec. 7, 2018

A few months ago we reported that leftists were apoplectic over Trump-fearing noncitizens ditching federal nutritional aid. As we noted then, “The extent of federal aid even among citizens is contentious and financially burdensome, but providing aid to immigrants is downright controversial.” Particularly when you consider just how widespread the problem has been.

The following statistics are relayed by Investor’s Business Daily based on information from a Center for Immigration Studies census analysis:

The report found … that 45% of households headed by a noncitizen reported using food programs in 2014. That’s the latest year for which such census data are available. That compares with 21% for U.S. citizens. Half of noncitizen households reported using Medicaid, compared with 23% for citizens. The CIS analysis also found that 31% of noncitizen households got cash benefits, when you include the Earned Income Tax Credit. That compares with 10% for citizen-headed households. Overall, 63% of noncitizen-headed households got some form of welfare benefit in 2014, compared with 35% for citizens.


Noncitizens are also far more likely to be uninsured than either native-born Americans or naturalized citizens. Census data show that in 2017 the uninsured rate among noncitizens was a whopping 24%. That compares with 7.5% for native-born and 8.9% for naturalized citizens. Looked at another way, of the 28.5 million uninsured in 2017, almost 6 million were noncitizens. In other words, while noncitizens comprise only 7% of the U.S. population, they account for 20% of the uninsured.

The uninsured rate may seem irrelevant until you consider the implications. Emergency rooms are legally mandated to treat patients. In such circumstances, a person’s financial situation and/or citizenship status are considered immaterial. Therefore, “Hospitals pass the costs of unpaid ER bills on to everyone else,” says Investor’s. “Apparently, nobody has tried to calculate just how much noncitizens cost the health care system. But the costs aren’t negligible.”

In a related matter, $5 billion was allocated in 2017 by the Health Resources and Services Administration for 1,400 medical centers that assist susceptible residents. Residency status doesn’t apply at these centers either. As Investor’s concludes, “The U.S. is a wealthy and generous nation. Even so, there’s an important question that needs an answer. Is it fair for hardworking Americans to pay billions of dollars in benefits to those who aren’t U.S. citizens, or worse, are here illegally?”

The costs alone are a good enough reason to avoid the fainting couch if, as reported, illegals are indeed scrubbing federal aid in response to Trump’s illegal-immigration crackdown.

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