Stop the Fake News About Immigrants

Stop the Fake News About Immigrants!

The Center for Immigration Studies wants us to think they are conservative.

Give me a break!

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) recently re-published a misleading report stating that 63% of non-citizen households access welfare programs compared to 35% of native born households. CIS’ report has already been picked up by the conservative media; in fact, I just heard Sean Hannity cite this report on his talk radio show. Sean Hannity, this is FAKE NEWS.

CIS is categorizing their data by immigration status of the head of household, and whether anyone in the household is receiving a benefit regardless of whether those people are citizens or not. Besides emergency Medicaid (<1% of Medicaid budget), undocumented immigrants are not eligible to receive federal welfare. Welfare benefits are granted to individuals, not households! We should be counting individuals who receive welfare benefits and their individual immigration statuses.

When the data is organized in terms of individuals’ immigration statuses instead of by the immigration statuses of the heads of households, it is clear that immigrants use welfare at rates comparable to those of native-born citizens. The Trump Administration's data​ (see Table 11) even categorizes entitlement use rates by individuals and shows that they are 20.9% among both native-born citizens and immigrants.

You won’t see this statistic in a CIS report.

What about costs of entitlements? My good friend Alex Nowrasteh at the Cato Institute has already shown that not only do immigrants access one or more entitlement programs at the same rate as native-born citizens, but that the per capita cost of providing welfare to immigrants is about 27% less than the per capita cost of providing welfare to native-born citizens.

That’s also a statistic you won’t see from CIS.

Remember that the next time you hear a report from the supposedly “neutral and non-partisan” Center for Immigration Studies. They are not honest brokers of information even though many of my Republican friends in the conservative media treat them as such. CIS’ stated goal is to reduce all forms of immigration, and they continuously work to drive a wedge between Republicans on this issue. 

In order to have productive discussions about the fiscal and economic impacts of immigration, we need to get the facts straight. With 3.7% unemployment and millions more open jobs than Americans looking for work, our economy and businesses need sensible immigration policy that will help grow our workforce, not shrink it!

Our nation would benefit greatly from sensible immigration policy that enhances our national security, discourages misclassification of workers, and deters future illegal immigration. We can start by securing the border and creating a method for the undocumented immigrants already here to pass background checks and earn their legal status so they can come out of the shadows and be properly identified and taxed. 

May God continue to bless our great nation!​ Merry Christmas!

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