Undocumented (Illegal) Immigrants

Undocumented (Illegal) Immigrants

There is a lot of bad information out there about undocumented residents, especially among folks with a specific political agenda. The first is that most are coming across our Southern border. The reality is that most enter either on a seasonal work or tourist visa and decide to stay. I am not advocating opening our borders, but I am advocating a more sensible and efficient method for accepting immigrants.

Other bad information has to do with what legal rights are available to illegals.

Are undocumented immigrants eligible for federal public benefit programs?

Generally no. Undocumented immigrants, including DACA holders, are ineligible to receive most federal public benefits, including means-tested benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, sometimes referred to as food stamps), regular Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and are prohibited from purchasing unsubsidized health coverage on ACA exchanges.

Undocumented immigrants may be eligible for a handful of benefits that are deemed necessary to protect life or guarantee safety in dire situations, such as emergency Medicaid, access to treatment in hospital emergency rooms, or access to healthcare and nutrition programs under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

Are legal immigrants eligible for federal public benefit programs?

Only those with lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, but not until they have resided as a legal resident for five years. LPRs – sometimes referred to as green card holders – do not have full access to all public benefit programs and are subject to limitations before being eligible for federal means-tested benefits, including Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), TANF, SNAP, and SSI. Such limitations include the “five-year bar,” which requires the individual to have maintained LPR status in the U.S. for five years before being eligible for benefits. However, under some federal benefit programs, this requirement can be bypassed when the recipient has worked 40 quarters under a visa. Quarters worked by parents when the immigrant was a dependent child, or by a spouse while married to the immigrant, count towards the immigrant’s 40 quarters.

LPRs are eligible to apply for Medicare and Public/“Section 8” Housing as well, as long as the five-year bar is fulfilled. For LPRs to become eligible for Social Security benefits for both retirement and disability, they are required to have completed 40 quarters of work in addition to having maintained LPR status for five years.

Certain additional categories of immigrants, specifically refugees, asylum seekers, and victims of human trafficking or domestic violence have the same eligibility requirements for federal benefits as LPRs. Individuals on non-immigrant and temporary visa holders are ineligible for benefits.

How much do legal immigrants use federal public benefit programs?

Legal immigrants use federal public benefit programs at lower rates than U.S.-born citizens. As recently as 2013, the rate at which non-citizens have used public benefit programs was less than that of U.S.-born citizens. For example, 32.5 percent of native-born citizen adults receive SNAP benefits compared to 25.4 percent of naturalized citizen adults and 29 percent of noncitizen adults. In addition to immigrants’ lower rate of SNAP usage, they also receive lower benefit values, costing the program less.

How much do immigrants contribute to support public benefits programs?

Both documented and undocumented immigrants pay more into public benefit programs than they take out. According to Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, undocumented immigrants contribute an estimated $11.74 billion to state and local economies each year. However, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for many of the federal or state benefits that their tax dollars help fund.

Additionally, a few states have completed studies demonstrating that immigrants pay more in taxes than they receive in government services and benefits. A study in Arizona found that the state’s immigrants generate $2.4 billion in tax revenue per year, which more than offsets the $1.4 billion in their use of benefit programs. Another study in Florida estimated that, on a per capita basis, immigrants in the state pay nearly $1,500 more in taxes per capita than they receive in public benefits.

Do undocumented children have access to a public education?

Yes. In accordance with the Supreme Court ruling in Plyer v. Doe, all immigrant children, regardless of status, have access to a public education and are eligible to attend public schools for grades K-12. Undocumented immigrants are also eligible for the Head Start program as it is not considered a federal public benefit program – any child who is otherwise eligible, regardless of their or their parents’ immigration status, may enroll in Head Start.

Guests in the Americas

Guests in the Americas

Let’s face it, we are all newcomers to our country and to all of the American Continents. Our view of history is typically limited to the European “discovery” and “flag planting”. How would we feel if the Chinese came over and planted their flag on our shores and claimed our land because they had done so? The following is from Craig Childs in an article for National Geographic:

  • “The first arrivals keep getting older and older because we’re finding more evidence as time goes on. Right now we can solidly say that people were across the Americas by 15,000 years ago. But that means people were probably already well in place by then; and there’s enough evidence to suggest humans were widespread 20,000 years ago. There’s some evidence of people as far back as 30,000 to 40,000 years ago, but the evidence gets thinner and thinner the further back you go. It appears there’s not a single arrival date. No doubt there was a first person walking in, but when that happened is well before 20,000 years ago.
  • The solid dates of 15,000 are based on sites where you can find fire pits, burned bones and work stones that have been turned into scrapers and hammers and spear points. When you go back further, you’re finding mammoths that have been shattered open in a way that’s characteristic of humans. Then you start getting into these questions of what really counts as a sign of human presence, and what is just a trampled mammoth bone that happens to look like it was struck by a human with a rock.”

There has been quite a bit of discussion concerning the origins of the original Americans. The long-accepted theory was that they came from Asia over the land bridge during the ice age. More recently there is evidence that people also migrated from Europe far earlier than the Vikings. Craig continues……

  • “What I took away was that people came from everywhere. We think of the arrival of the first people as one group braving their way across a land bridge, when in fact it was many groups, many different languages, and technologies arriving at different times from different directions. This makes sense because that’s how we do things as humans. It’s not just one group. It is this complex story of many people, with many different stories.”

The original Americans that the Europeans encountered were likely the decedents of ancestors that came from came from……… you guessed it, Europe. In the very early days of the inhabited Americas all were welcome. In the very early days of the USA all were welcome. What happened to Miss Liberty’s cry? “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The 2020 Election

The 2020 Election

Out of curiosity, I have been tracking the polls and betting odds on the election for all of 2020. Most people know that both the polls and the bettors missed the mark in 2016. The polls did not miss it since they projected that Clinton would win by a 3% margin, and she did win the popular vote by 2.8 million votes. The mistake was in not focusing on the Electoral College where small margins in three states determined the outcome. The three states and the Trump margins’ of victory were: Michigan .3%, Pennsylvania .7%, and Wisconsin .8%.

This election has been much more focused on polling in individual states. While there are still 3 ½ weeks remaining, the polls will likely change, but the following chart shows the status of both the polls and the bettors as of October 09th. Where there was more than one poll during a month, I have used the average. Polls have a + or – 3% margin of error.

Key state election Trump v. Biden
polls averages
2016E.C.20202020Vegas Odds
StatemarginvotesSepOctAs of October 4
1Michigan0.3%165%7.0%Biden Favored
2N. Hamphire0.4%48%9.0%Biden Favored
3Wisconsin0.8%103%5.0%Biden slight favorite
4Pennsylvania0.7%206%8.0%Biden slight favorite
5Florida1.2%293%2.5%even
6Minnestota1.5%107% Biden Favored
7Nevada1.5%63%5.0%Biden Favored
8Maine 3.0%412% Biden Favored
9N. Carolina3.7%151%2.0%Trump slight favorite
10Arizona3.5%113%3.0%Biden slight favorite
11Ohio9.1%183%0.5%Trump favored
12Texas9.0%384%4.0%Trump favored
13Iowa9.5%61%1.0%Trump favored
Subtotal EC votes187