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ERIC Number: ED464161
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Feb
Pages: 21
Abstractor: N/A
Immigrants and Welfare Reauthorization. Revised.
Fremstad, Shawn
Until the 1996 welfare law (which conditioned eligibility on citizenship status) was passed, legal immigrants were generally as eligible for public benefits as citizens. The immigrant restrictions have proven to be extremely controversial. In 1997, Congress restored Supplemental Security Income to most immigrants who were already in the country when the law was enacted. In 1998, it restored food stamp eligibility for immigrant children and elderly and disabled people who had been here before August 1996. More than one in five low-income children in the United States now live in noncitizen families. Among immigrant adult welfare recipients, 69 percent do not have a high school diploma, as opposed to 37 percent of native-born recipients. Legislation to further restore benefits has been introduced in each subsequent Congressional session. Support for restoring benefits crosses ideological and partisan lines. This paper examines immigrant eligibility for benefits, which varies among federal programs; state government and judicial responses to immigrant restrictions; trends in welfare participation by immigrant households; increases in hardship and uninsurance; immigrants who remain eligible for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program; and options for welfare reauthorization (e.g., restore equal access to public benefits and improve employment outcomes for immigrants and people with limited English proficiency). Overall, the 1996 restrictions have negatively impacted low-income immigrant families and their citizen children. An appendix presents immigration basics (admission to the United States, naturalization, and major immigrant categories). (SM)
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 820 First Street, N.E., Suite 510, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 202-408-1080; Fax: 202-408-1056; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families