Both immigrants and illegal aliens are more likely to be poor and to use welfare programs than native-born Americans because they come to the country with lower levels of education, according to a new study looking at U.S. Census Bureau data.
The public burden is a major issue, and it was one of the disputes, along with border security and increased enforcement, that helped kill the Senate immigration bill earlier this year.
Mr. Camarota, whose group calls for a crackdown on illegal aliens and a slowdown in legal immigration, said his numbers show that the family-based system puts a strain on taxpayer-funded services.
"Allowing in legal immigrants mainly based on family relationships, and tolerating widespread illegal immigration, certainly has very significant implications for social services, public schools and taxpayer services," he said.
He said that makes sense — native-born Americans without a high-school education also are more likely to use welfare or to live in poverty. But he said that means that the burdens illegal aliens places on taxpayers can't be solved through amnesty because it would not raise education levels.
"You're not going to fix the problem of high rates of welfare use just by legalizing them — at least for the 57 percent of high school dropouts," Mr. Camarota said.
Nearly one in three immigrant households nationwide uses a major welfare program, compared with 19.4 percent of native-born American families.
The report says overall immigration to the U.S. remains high, with immigrants now accounting for one in eight U.S. residents — the highest level in 80 years. Since 2000, 10.3 million immigrants have arrived, which is the highest seven-year total in U.S. history.
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