The typical worth of welfare advantages per immigrant was $6,063 in 2020, or 27.3 p.c lower than the $8,335 common for native‐born Individuals. Determine 1 breaks down the numbers by kind of welfare program. Immigrants consumed 36.9 p.c much less Social Safety, 26 p.c much less Medicare, 10.7 p.c much less Medicaid, 11.5 p.c much less SNAP advantages, and 87.6 p.c much less TANF advantages than native‐born Individuals on a per capita foundation. Nonetheless, immigrants consumed 11.4 p.c extra in SSI advantages than natives, which interprets to $19 greater than natives on a per capita foundation. Immigrants individually additionally consumed 42.9 p.c extra WIC advantages than native‐born Individuals, which interprets to $7 greater than natives per capita.
That is from Alex Nowrasteh, “Immigrants Use Much less Welfare Than Native-Born Individuals,” Cato at Liberty, February 1, 2023. It’s based mostly on this longer research: Alex Nowrasteh and Michael Howard, “Immigrant and Native Consumption of Means-Examined Welfare and Entitlement Advantages in 2020,” Briefing Paper No. 148, January 31, 2023.
Nowrasteh is conscious that 2020 was an uncommon yr due to the massive (hopefully momentary) enlargement of the welfare state by a bipartisan Congress and and President Trump.
One factor these numbers replicate is that the most important packages within the welfare state are Social Safety and Medicare. Loads of immigrants haven’t been right here lengthy sufficient and/or haven’t earned excessive sufficient earnings (and paid the associated FICA taxes) that they qualify for top Social Safety funds. However Nowrasteh is conscious of that and strips out Social Safety and Medicare. He writes:
Immigrants nonetheless consumed lower than natives when the entitlement packages of Social Safety and Medicare are excluded from the evaluation. The typical immigrant consumed $2,273 in means‐examined welfare advantages in 2020, about $310 lower than the typical American who consumed $2,583. That’s a distinction of 12 p.c.
As you’ll be able to see, that narrows the distinction considerably. So a right away query to ask is whether or not immigrants pay their very own means. Do they, as an entire, pay sufficient in taxes to make up for the welfare expenditures on them? Nowrasteh is conscious that he hasn’t answered that query, writing:
Evaluating the web‐fiscal results of immigration – whether or not the taxes paid attributable to them being right here is larger than their consumption of advantages – requires extra sophisticated calculations and estimates. Keep tuned for these.
Whereas some advocates of permitting way more immigration haven’t any downside with the welfare state, Nowrasteh isn’t in that class. He writes:
Aged immigrants eat extra Medicaid advantages than aged native‐born Individuals, however natives are dearer than immigrants in the identical age teams on a per capita foundation for all different giant packages and most smaller ones. Immigrants are already legally restricted from accessing most welfare packages for some years after their arrival, however minor authorized adjustments alongside the traces we recommend right here would considerably scale back immigrant entry to all these packages. Rep. Grothman (R‑WI) has launched a number of payments to finish welfare entry to non‐residents, which is second greatest to massively scaling again welfare for all.
Notice additionally his dialogue of how immigration to Israel elevated the welfare state within the brief run and diminished it in the long term.
Disclosure: I’m an immigrant who had a reasonably unhealthy expertise on my first strive at getting a inexperienced card. That in all probability biases me.