The Corner

Welfare for Immigrants

I wrote this morning about how the federal government encourages welfare use among immigrants.

One of the more shocking examples is a Spanish-language telenovela produced by the Department of Agriculture. It depicts a woman who doesn’t want to get on food stamps because she feels her family can adequately provide for itself — which apparently is just silly pride, by the USDA’s reckoning. Her friends pressure her, and finally she gives in. Cue the victorious music.

The USDA didn’t make English-language versions, but the Daily Caller provides translations of the whole series here.

A source yesterday made the point that it’s pretty much bureaucratically and legally impossible to exclude immigrants from benefits programs like SNAP, especially when they or their children have become citizens. But extending eligibility and promoting usage are two different things. And as I point out in my op-ed, a disproportionate number of immigrants already receive welfare — and that comes at a high cost to taxpayers.

The point here is not to knock on immigrants. (Keep in mind that they’re also more likely than native-born Americans to start a business.)

So give me your ideas, readers. How can we reform the immigration system so that we’re welcoming entrepreneurial immigrants and screening out those who are likely to become life-long welfare dependents?

Jillian Kay Melchior — Jillian Kay Melchior writes for National Review as a Thomas L. Rhodes Fellow for the Franklin Center. She is also a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.

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