Here’s How Much Welfare The Average Immigrant Family Uses Each Year

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Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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The average immigrant household draws more than $6,000 from the welfare system in a year, costing U.S. taxpayers 41 percent more than people born in the country, a new study finds.

Immigrants with low education levels and higher numbers of children tend to use up the most benefits, according to the analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which found immigrant families consume $6,234 a year on average. The benefits come in the form of cash payments, food, Medicaid and housing.

Illegal immigrant households are included in the figure, since some can access the system through their U.S.-born children. Although illegal immigrants are barred from accessing welfare payments, CIS determined the households still cost the system more than $5,600 in a year on average.

The study follows CIS reports last year that 51 percent of households led by immigrants use at least one welfare program, and legal immigrants account for 75 percent of all immigrant welfare use. Many immigrants hold jobs, but still qualify for welfare because they tend to make less money and have more children.

“If we continue to permit large numbers of less-educated people to move here from abroad, we have to accept that there will be huge and ongoing costs to taxpayers,” CIS executive director Mark Krikorian said in a statement announcing the study.

More than 24 percent of immigrant households are led by a high school dropout, compared to 8 percent of households led by individuals born in the country. Thirteen percent of immigrant-led households have three or more children, compared to just 6 percent of U.S.-born households.

CIS found the average U.S.-born household received $4,431 in welfare benefits.

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