Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation is an expert on poverty, welfare and immigration (particularly the cost of low-skilled immigrants to the taxpayer). He appeared on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal program on Saturday morning (August 20).
He has researched the government’s anti-poverty efforts and found over 70 separate federal programs spending over $900 billion this year to supply poor people with food, housing, healthcare and other welfare items. That works out to $20,000 per poor person.
Rector’s recent study about poverty analyzed the kind of lifestyle many designated poor people live by examining the household items owned, from refrigerators to cable TV and X-box games. The point being that the poverty in which some contemporary Americans live is not so bad.
Immigrants were not the point of the interview. However, as Steve Camarota pointed out in recent research, the foreign born use welfare programs at far higher rates than US-born persons (see Welfare Use by Immigrant Households with Children).
In 2009 (based on data collected in 2010), 57 percent of households headed by an immigrant (legal and illegal) with children (under 18) used at least one welfare program, compared to 39 percent for native households with children.
One can assume that it is more than just employment that keeps immigrants and illegal aliens in this country. They come for the jobs, but may stay for the free stuff when the employment disappears.