Among the most contentious debates surrounding national immigration reform concerns immigrant use of welfare programs. Opponents of immigration routinely assert low-skilled immigrants consume more public resources than natives, thereby imposing an unfair fiscal burden on U.S. taxpayers.
Such claims, however, have little basis in fact. A new report from the Cato Institute shows that, in reality, non-citizens use public welfare programs at a lower rate than similar low-income native-born citizens. When immigrant children and adults do receive assistance, moreover, the average benefits value per recipient is almost always lower than for natives.