Households led by illegal immigrants with U.S.-born children, often referred to as “anchor babies,” are more likely to utilize welfare programs compared to households headed by U.S.-born individuals, according to a recent study by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).
The report, dated Dec. 19, indicates that approximately 59.4 percent of these illegal immigrant-led households are on one or more welfare programs, in contrast to 39 percent of those led by native-born Americans.
“Our best estimate is that 59 percent of households headed by illegal immigrants, also called the undocumented, use at least one major program. We have no evidence this is due to fraud,” CIS researchers Steven A. Camarota and Karen Zeigler wrote.
“Among legal immigrants we estimate the rate is 52 percent,” they wrote.
The data, derived from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), points to the reality that many illegal immigrants, struggling to provide for their U.S.-born children, turn to welfare programs for support.
According to the report, illegal immigrants can receive welfare on behalf of U.S.-born children, and illegal immigrant children can receive school lunch/breakfast and WIC directly. Some states offer Medicaid to certain classes of illegal alien adults and children, and a few provide Food Stamps under the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program.
The CIS report also notes that several million unauthorized immigrants have statuses that allow them to obtain work authorizations, such as pending asylum claims, which enable receipt of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
“The high welfare use of immigrant households is not explained by an unwillingness to work,” the researchers wrote. “In fact, 83 percent of all immigrant households and 94 percent of illegal-headed households have at least one worker, compared to 73 percent of U.S.-born households.”
The report suggests that the higher rates of welfare use among illegal immigrants primarily stem from lower education levels and the resulting lower incomes.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimates that the total number of U.S.-born children of illegal aliens in the United States as of June is approximately 5.78 million, more than four times the population of Maine.
FAIR also claims that these individuals and their children impose a net annual cost of $150.6 billion on American taxpayers as of the beginning of 2023, roughly 20 times the annual budget of state government in Maine.
The issue of birthright citizenship has been a point of contention in recent national political debates.
Former President Donald Trump, in his 2024 campaign, has reiterated his stance against birthright citizenship and has proposed ending what he calls the “unfair practice” of birth tourism.
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) have also voiced their opposition to birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants.
Rep. Gaetz has introduced a bill titled “End Birthright Citizenship Fraud Act of 2023,” which seeks to abolish automatic birthright citizenship for U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants, stipulating that at least one parent must be a U.S. national, a lawful permanent resident, a refugee, or an active member of the military.
Gaetz emphasizes that American citizenship should be a privilege and not a right to be exploited by illegal immigration.