Harvard Economist: 42 Percent of Immigrant Households on Public Assistance

February 8, 2017 10:07 am Last Updated: February 8, 2017 1:18 pm

A Harvard economist has found that nearly 42 percent of immigrant households in the United States are on public assistance of some kind.

“In 2016, there were 8.9 million households headed by a non-citizen … almost 42 percent of those households received some type of assistance,” George Borjas, Professor of Economics and Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, wrote on his website on Feb. 1.

To come to his conclusions Borjas used census data from 1994 to 2016 to calculate how many of the migrant-headed households receive either money, food stamps, or Medicaid.

According to Borjas, millions of households could be impacted if existing immigration laws are adhered to.

Borjas noted that since 1882, the United States has banned the entry of immigrants who could potentially become a “public charge,” meaning they will likely need government-funded assistance.

The law states the following:

Any alien who, in the opinion of the consular officer at the time of application for a visa, or in the opinion of the Attorney General at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.

The law was later modified to make it possible to deport immigrants who had become a public charge after entering the country:

Any alien who, within five years after the date of entry, has become a public charge from causes not affirmatively shown to have arisen since entry is deportable.

(Gborjas.org)

However, according the definition used by the Department of Homeland Security, “public charge” only refers to receivers of cash benefits, and not to those who receive other benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps, housing benefits, etc.

Recently, there have been unconfirmed reports swirling around about the Trump administration potentially rolling out restrictions on immigrants who fall into this category.

The White House has yet to confirm the authenticity of the alleged new immigration orders.