Survey: Immigrants More Open to Public Assistance Than U.S.-Born Citizens

Immigrants are more willing to accept government assistance programs than U.S.-born citizens, according to a new online study.

Fifty-three percent of immigrants said they had already accepted welfare or were somewhat willing to accept it, while 48 percent of native-born citizens said the same.

“The [Survey of Income Program Participation] shows that households headed by immigrants use welfare at significantly higher rates than natives, even higher than indicated by other Census surveys,” said Steven Camarota, a director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies.

“Overall we found that in 2012 of all immigrants, legal and illegal, 51 percent of households accessed one or more of the major welfare programs, typically two or three at a time,” he said. Less than one-third, or 30 percent of native-born households used at least one welfare program in 2012.

Immigrants use food assistance programs and Medicaid at much higher rates than those born in the United States. Forty percent of foreign-born households use food programs, compared to 22 percent of native-born Americans, and 42 percent of foreign-born households use Medicaid compared to 23 percent of natives.

Immigrants continue to use government assistance programs years after arrival. Forty-eight percent of immigrant families have accessed welfare after two decades of being in the United States.