Immigrants lag well behind native-born Americans economically
43 percent of U.S. immigrants here at least 20 years were on welfare
A study has shown that immigrants in the U.S. still lag behind
native-born Americans economically, even for those who have been in the
U.S. the longest. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, full
assimilation is a far more complex task than overcoming language
barriers or cultural differences.
Based on 2010 and 2011 census data, the study found that 43 percent of immigrants have been in the U.S. at least 20 years were using welfare benefits.
Based on 2010 and 2011 census data, the study found that 43 percent of immigrants have been in the U.S. at least 20 years were using welfare benefits. This rate is nearly twice as high as native-born Americans and nearly 50 percent higher than recent immigrants.
Both major presidential candidates have backed policies that would make the naturalization of immigrants easier and would boost the numbers of people coming to the U.S.
The center's research director and author of the 96-page study, Steven A. Camarota says the study shows that questions about the pros and cons of immigration extend well beyond figures and statistics, addressing the broader consequences of assimilating a population defined by tougher socioeconomic challenges.
"Look, we know a lot of these folks are going to be poor, we get it. But don't tell the public it's all going great, which is the story line I think a lot of people want to sell," Camarota says. "There is progress over time. Every measure shows improvement over time, but still, the situation does not look like we'd like it to look, particularly for the less-educated. They lag well behind natives even when they've been here for two decades, and that is very disconcerting."
Currently, federal law still requires that the government deny immigrant visas to potential immigrants who appear to be unable to support themselves and thereby become public charges.
A handful of Republican senators last week wrote to the Homeland Security and State departments asking them to explain why they don't consider whether potential immigrants would use many of the nearly 80 federal welfare programs when they evaluate visa applications. Neither department responded to the senators' letter.
Expanding legal immigration remains a highly contentious issue for voters, the vast majority of whom tell pollsters that they want the levels either retained or decreased.
Most politicians say they want legal immigration expanded.
During his time in the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama backed bills that boosted legal immigration. As U.S. president, he has called for the same thing.
"We need to provide our farms a legal way to hire workers that they rely on, and a path for those workers to earn legal status. And our laws should respect families following the rules - reuniting them more quickly instead of splitting them apart," Obama said in a major speech on the subject in El Paso, Texas, in 2011.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Immigrants, U.S., economic disparity, welfare
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