Reducing immigrant welfare

Monday, December 10, 2012
Chad Groening (

An immigration reform activist says there needs to be a change in U.S. immigration policy that doesn't bring in large numbers of people who inevitably wind up requiring some sort of government assistance.

The National Review recently published an article titled "Immigrant Welfare: The New Colossus," which says that immigrants are disproportionately dependent on welfare. For one thing, Department of Agriculture statistics show that the number of non-citizens on food stamps has almost quadrupled since 2001. The article also points out that the federal government has gone out of its way to encourage immigrants to apply for assistance through websites like

Mehlman, Ira (Federation for American Immigration Reform)Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), says the dependency is worsening because of the kinds of immigrants who are coming into the country.

"Because we have a policy that admits people largely based on extended family connections rather than on individual merit, the result is large numbers of people coming without the kind of human capital necessary to succeed in 21st century America," Mehlman explains.

So he contends the U.S. must come up with an immigration policy that does not permit entry of large numbers of individuals who inevitably wind up receiving some sort of assistance.

"What they ought to be looking at is reforming policies that take people based on some objective assessment of their likelihood to succeed here," he submits. "There's no perfect formula, but we can get a pretty good sense of who is likely to succeed and who isn't, and that's what our immigration policy ought to be taking into account -- a policy that is there to serve the public good, the public interest."

The FAIR spokesman adds that there needs to be an established criterion that does not rely on who the next relative in line is.

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