Immigration and Welfare Use

I’ve lived in immigrant households all my life. My dad was an immigrant, and though Mom was born in the U.S., she had the Old World view. My wife is an immigrant.

In the early 1990s, my connection to immigrant communities exposed me to rather shocking (but legal) abuse of two government programs. You already know one of them — the H-1B work visa program. The other was abuse of welfare programs by elderly immigrants, both in the form of cash (SSI) and noncash assistance, the latter consisting of Medicaid, subsidized senior housing and miscellaneous aid such as reduced telephone service rates (Lifeline).

During that time, I gave invited testimony to the U.S. Senate, wrote an invited article for The New Democrat (a magazine started by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party) and so on. As a statistician, I analyzed the data and as a Chinese speaker I interviewed many Chinese seniors who were receiving such aid, as well as social workers, immigration lawyers and so on. Note carefully: I do NOT blame the seniors for this abuse, as they are unaware, but their adult sons and daughters who sponsor them are indeed culpable.

Among other things, I showed that most of the seniors receiving aid actually had well-off sons and daughters, and were living with them. During that time, a typical scenario in Silicon Valley, for instance, was that of husband and wife both from Taiwan, both making good money as engineers, and living in an expensive house — and with the down payment for that house coming in part from SSI money from the old folk. The latter would also serve as babysitters for the grandkids, and when the grandkids got older, the seniors would move into government-subsidized senior housing. The seniors would enjoy yearly trips back home to Taiwan — people on welfare enjoying international vacations, while some American black people on welfare had never even seen the ocean. Again, all of this was legal (with one possibly questionable aspect), and indeed promoted by the federal government.

You may find this transcript of my appearance on a Bay Area Chinese-language TV show to be informative.

I haven’t looked at this issue for years, but one of Alan Tonelson’s blog posts inspired me to comment now. So, what has happened since I was researching this nearly 20 years ago?

First of all, in 1996 Congress passed, and Pres. Clinton signed into law, a general welfare reform plan that did include provisions for immigrants. It basically banned green card holders from receiving cash forms of welfare, though the immigrants need only naturalize to receive such aid. Needless to say, naturalization rates soared. But as Alan points out, there is still lots of noncash assistance available even to the ones who have not yet naturalized.

One big example is subsidized senior housing. If you visit such locations in almost any large urban area, you will likely find it populated almost entirely by elderly Asian immigrants, with long waiting lists.

My understanding is that Canada recently changed its immigration policy so that foreign seniors with Canadian adult children could only visit Canada.  The visit durations are generous, but the old folk now cannot become citizens and be eligible for welfare.

One more important point: In the 1990s, this was a bipartisan issue. The Democrats actually took the lead, extending the period to become eligible from three years to five, in 1993 when they still held Congress. And though the Republicans took over Congress in 1994 and wrote the welfare reform bill that was eventually enacted, the Democrats had their own proposal, only slightly less draconian in terms of immigrants, and of course Democratic President Clinton signed it into law. That is not true today, of course, and if Trump clamps down, expect opposition from the Democrats, and of course from plaintiffs in the Ninth Circuit.

Update: After I posted the original version of the above, a reader wondered if the 1996 law had later been changed. Looking at the government instructions for applicants we see that the statute was indeed amended to grandfather those already receiving SSI at the time of enactment. As noted, I have not been following development for quite some time now, and had not been aware of the grandfathering, though I did advocate it at the time (and still believe it was the right thing to do).

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69 thoughts on “Immigration and Welfare Use

  1. It is possible for the dependent elderly who do not qualify for Social Security on the basis of their own efforts to receive SS survivors benefits for life. (https://faq.ssa.gov/link/portal/34011/34019/Article/3766/Who-can-get-Social-Security-survivors-benefits-and-how-do-I-apply). These would typically be elderly immigrants. It is frustrating that many of them immigrated in their 50s and early 60s , well within the normal working age group in the US.

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  2. Being an unemployable american citizen, I decided to look this up since I wasn’t aware of it, and making $866.67 per month in salary and surviving on food stamps with an occasional programming project, I wanted to see if I was qualified for it.

    https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-eligibility-ussi.htm

    Looks like I need to be 65.

    Since the programming projects are few and far between I was hoping that maybe some of this was available for citizens so that I would have a little cushion and maybe be able to afford to put a bathroom in my shed.

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  3. The income level (125% of the poverty level by family size) is absurdly low especially considering the cost of health care and insurance. I am sick of seeing questions about how to qualify elderly immigrants sponsored by their US citizen children (often naturalized after receiving an employment or marriage to US citizen green card) for Medicaid.

    A sponsor should be expected to support their family member for the rest of that family member’s life. It is a choice to come to the US where the cost of living is often many times that of the sponsored family members home country. If someone “needs” to have his/her parents nearby, they need to return to their parents home country. That should have been a consideration when the choice was made to come to the US to live.

    It is my belief that many of the problems with illegal entry and overstay are due to the desire to obtain amnesty and eventual citizenship so that additional family members may be sponsored. It is frustrating that a new immigrant citizen can sponsor family members without limitation yet I whose grandparents immigrated over 100 years cannot sponsor anyone.

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    • The concept of family reunification was originally developed to help families who were split by war and authoritarian regimes. It does not apply today, and as you point out, their “need” to be reunified is there because THEY dis-unified the family.

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      • You are mistaken about why family reunification was given high priority when it came to granting immigrant visas. There’s a book called “A Nation of Nations” by NPR reporter Tom Gjelten, which discusses in detail the political machinations that occurred prior to the passage of the 1965 Immigration Act. (I don’t know if you have read the book.)

        To summarize: immigrants’ skills (especially those that were deemed important to the US national interest) were given priority in the original drafts of the bill. But the House committee chairman overseeing immigration (I forget his exact designation), Michael Feighan, was not friendly to the cause of overturning the 1924 Act, and was what some would call a “nativist” (though ironically, he was an Irishman.) He happened to be a Democrat too, though a labor Democrat, not a liberal. He argued for family reunification to take precedence over skills because he thought (and said) that since whites were about 90% of the population at the time, family members of Americans likely to seek green cards would overwhelmingly be white too. LBJ, seeking a quick victory, gave in and the 1965 Act passed. Of course, Feighan turned out to be completely wrong, and his plan backfired on him. It turned out that most Europeans, now living in fairly prosperous countries, no longer wanted to immigrate to the US. Instead, the handful of Asian and Latin American immigrants who were initially allowed in brought lots and lots of their relatives to the country by exercising this family reunification clause (chain migration.) Hence the demographics of the country changed as they did.

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        • Senator Ted Kennedy famously told the Daughters of the American Revolution that most immigration under the new law would be white. I think he meant it. He was wrong, but I am glad he was wrong. I highly value the diversity the 1965 Act brought our nation.

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  4. If SSI is based on contributions made during employment years, why would they be getting any SSI?
    The rest comes with citizenship, benefits for the elderly.
    As for “The other was abuse of welfare programs by elderly immigrants”, and “their adult sons and daughters who sponsor them are indeed culpable”, culpable for what? This is exactly what congress intended when giving citizenship to elderly. If you’re trying to say we get the short end of the stick, particularly the poorest of our taxpayers, we certainly are.
    We’re often told how beneficial immigrants are and I’ve no doubt they leave out the debit side of the balance sheet – in this case, the enormous expense of support for 4 elderly who’ve contributed zero to the country.

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      • Is not the very calculation for SSI payments X x [income over number of years]? That is what the bulk of the advisory sites say. As it appears in the paperwork the SSA sends every 5 years.

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          • Standard Social Security Income (SSI) retirement payments are based on earned income. Payments to elderly in poverty are a different program, Supplemental Security Income, also called SSI, a different program which has zero criteria for prior earned income.
            Citizens familiar with H1B employment damage assume employment is the primary motive of H1B employees, because that is the most obvious impact and an issue of contention. Citizens who came via H1B tell me the bigger driver for them is having their 4 parents become citizens, for medical benefits. In Asia, children are parents’ retirement plan.
            Between job displacement/loss, 6 new citizens for industry’s benefit of 1 cheap, visa indentured worker, and remittances, citizens are handed quite a bill.

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          • >> Citizens who came via H1B tell me the bigger driver for them is having their 4 parents become citizens, for medical benefits. In Asia, children are parents’ retirement plan.
            Between job displacement/loss, 6 new citizens for industry’s benefit of 1 cheap, visa indentured worker, and remittances, citizens are handed quite a bill.

            Patently false. Going by the demographic you mention (“indentured”,”asian”,”remittances”), your H-1B contacts certainly do not belong to this demographic.

            Here’s why – None of these “indentured” folks can sponsor anyone (leave alone their parents) until they get their greencards and we all know there is yuge wait for individuals born in these nations (to the tune of “Unknown” number of years in the queue).

            And remittances only spike up for these folks since they cannot take invest in anything while on their temporary ‘permanent’ visa. With LPR, the remittances should drop significantly (by way of investing in real estate among other things)

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          • The green card wait has only recently become “yuge.” The scenario described, F-1 to H-1B to GC to USC, has repeated itself hundreds of thousands of times over the years.

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          • >> repeated itself hundreds of thousands of times over the years

            It may have in the past, but it no longer will (Pretty sure it must have stopped few years ago). That certainly means that the “buy-1-get-4” welfare abuse is over,barring some near divine (congressional) action.

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          • The total number of EB-* green cards granted per year is the same as before. So although the individual wait time is horrendous, the scale of abuse, e.g. total number of new SSI recipients per year, is probably about the same as before. Clever phrase, though, “buy-1-get-4.” 🙂

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          • >> total number of new SSI recipients per year, is probably about the same as before

            Agreed.

            Since the demographic we are referring to in particular is “asian”, that would be
            ~2700/percountry/year x 3 countries (india,china,philippines) x 4 SSIs

            If it’s worldwide, it would be

            140,000 /year * 4

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          • I believe you misinterpreted. The buy 1 get another 4 queue isn’t gone, it overflows, at least for Indians.
            Think movie theater lines for popular movie, line just keeps growing. If you get into a long queue, no, people can’t say how long it’ll be til it’s your turn. Some people leave. And immigration policy changes. On the chopping block for consideration – parents, siblings and other relatives.

            The snowballing Indian visa community, like the illegal immigrant community, tells Washington: We demand the right to legal status. Which goes over like a ton of bricks with the ousted-by-H1Bs techs/nurses/adjuncts/etc.

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          • My citizen friends who came via H1B tell me this. Yes Asian, yes they were visa indentured, yes, they send a ton of money “home”. Re: parents, yes, their parents are here for at least 6 months a year, a green card requirement, and when they reach their 5 years, apply for citizenship. And criticize the ones who didn’t put their parents on this track – as they age and need medical care. Their green cards came 15 to 20 years ago.
            Their remittances had nothing to do with investments, they were to support parents and school their siblings.

            There is a huge green card backlog for Indians, not for other nationalities.

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    • Elderly immigrants are known to fail to report their foreign income and assets which would disqualify them from receiving SSI since their worldwide income and assets exceed the maximum allowed. There are frequent questions on forums catering to Indians about whether the US government is likely to detect this fraud.

      The way to solve the problem is to bar immigrants from any need based programs. Any immigrant who comes to the US before the age of 60 and even later than that should be expected to get off their duff and work; many retire in their 50s and come to the US sponsored by their children while eligible for pensions in their home country. Their lack of fluency in English is not an excuse because a janitor does not need to know English to get the job done.

      SS needs to adjusted for these short timers since SS benefits disproportionately benefit low income workers.It is grossly unfair that a long time, low income worker may receive fewer proportional benefits than a short term high income worker.

      Americans are working into their late 60s and even their 70s and are supporting these individuals who have made no contribution to the US.

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      • Concerning English: I have long held that all immigrants, say over the age of 10 and definitely including the old folk, should be required to know rudimentary English as a prerequisite to immigration. The bar can be set pretty low, and they WOULD meet the bar, through a variety of simple (and free) methods.

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        • I agree that all immigrants should either know English or become functional is a short period of time.

          I am also frustrated that some come at a relatively young age, accept funds from the government (research grants as well as aid for personal expenses), yet never choose to become a citizen. They then return to their home country regularly on US grant funds, accept concurrent faculty positions at foreign universities and participate in research “in the interest of national security”. If someone wants taxpayer funded research grants, he should at least make the commitment that citizenship requires and take the loyalty oath.

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          • Your assumptions are not quite accurate. Just because someone wishes to become a citizen doesn’t mean they get to. And the corollary, that just because someone is not a citizen doesn’t mean that they have chosen not to, also holds. Grad students, for example, are barred from seeking green cards, let alone citizenship. Their projects, especially in STEM programs in better universities, are very likely to be government-funded, but that has no bearing on the visa and immigration process. None! As an example, a student from India who completes an MS in Computer Science (even from MIT or the like), will be legally unable to take a citizenship oath for the next 12 years, in the best case (2 years as a student, 5 years to wait for an EB-2 green card, and 5 more for citizenship.) And I’m being optimistic here.

            On one of your other points: if someone is using grant money to take vacations back to their home home countries, they are likely committing illegal acts (unless it’s to attend conferences or such.) Overall, your views about immigrants seem to be very jaundiced.

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          • I believe you misunderstood Cathy. She was referring to those who obtain a green card (typically through employment), which DOES give them the right to naturalize, but choose not to do so.

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          • Grad students aren’t “barred”, they cannot sponsor themselves but that’s not “barred”.

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          • I don’t know what thoughts you are attributing to me, but they apparently are incorrect.

            Again: The classical pattern, which is what most foreign students are aspiring to, is that after getting their U.S. grad degree, they are hired by a U.S. employer, who then sponsors them for a green. Once they get the green card (which these days may take a very long time), they are eligible to apply to naturalize five years later. Cathy was saying that many who get the green card choose to just stop there.

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          • >> a student from India who completes an MS in Computer Science (even from MIT or the like), will be legally unable to take a citizenship oath for the next 12 years

            This is another lie being peddled around by the cartel/media – For India born individuals, it’s about 10x the number you mention to get an LPR. 10-12 sounds very good since the employer can ‘recoup’ their expenses on the individual. Assuming that https://www.cato.org/blog/no-one-knows-how-long-legal-immigrants-will-have-wait is totally false, there is no rebuttal with actual numbers!

            The questions no one (I mean the economists/data scientists) are asking (or know) is

            1) How many ‘queues’ for LPR are available

            2) How many India/China/Philippine born individuals are currently in the ‘queues’

            3) What is the actual time that it would take for someone to get out of the queue and get an LPR

            All the above become necessary at some point sooner than later as status quo is the only constant these days when it comes to immigration (H2B/EB5 extensions come to mind)

            Looks like the economists are increasing becoming and extension of the cartel.

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          • NIS and NSF are considering creation of various employment mechanisms to keep the glut of Masters and PhDs here. And currently a whole lot of grants are used to do so.
            Her points,
            – grants indirectly fund “vacations back home”, via employing the Masters/PhD university glut labor.
            – LPRs, yes, we’ve LPRs who “chose” to remain LPRs. This EB visas are now being used by venture capitalists along with other businesses, to sidestep both hiring directly and H1B limbo, as “partners” of universities.
            The visa gaming and public funds used to do so are extensive.

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          • If you dig into this issue, business justifies/promotes this by claiming it cultivates business opportunities _for_ _themselves_ abroad. We’ve more forms of skewed corporate welfare than one can shake a stick at.
            I’ve yet to dig into an issue of dysfunction that hasn’t a root cause of skew toward corporate welfare.

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          • Prof. Matloff:

            If Cathy was referring to those who have already received green cards and are eligible for citizenship, yet choose not to take it, then I stand corrected.

            Despicable Congress:

            A typical MS student will spend 2 years in a university. In some cases it could be one year and a little more, but that’s not much of a difference. During that period, the student, being in F1 status is legally barred from seeking residency. With me so far?
            Now if the student gets a job and is immediately able to move to H-1B status(unlikely, but let’s say he/she does so), and if the employer immediately starts the green card process (is virtually all cases, this is going to be in the EB-2 category; it’ll be almost impossible for a fresh MS grad to claim eligibility for an EB-1 green card.) For an Indian, this process will not take less than 5 years these days. I have (academically and skill-wise, outstanding) friends who followed this path from some of the top universities in the country, and they got their green cards around the 6-year mark. Now after getting a green card, my understanding is that one is legally prohibited to apply for citizenship for a minimum of 5 years. Again, I will use the example of a friend who became a citizen last year, exactly 5 years after he got a GC.

            So what exactly is your dispute with my math?

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          • Your math is fine. But you are confusing bandwidth and latency. 🙂

            The point, also made I believe by AmyInNH, is that the pipeline is full, has been full, still is full, will continue to be full. Newly naturalized U.S. citizens (whom I welcome) are coming out of that pipe at the same rate as before.

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          • >> For an Indian, this process will not take less than 5 years these days

            The “math” goes way off charts just at this step. The 5/10/12 year wait is a thing of the past, especially for Indian born/China born/Philippine born individuals. If anyone has even written about this in the recent past on this ‘backlog’ is cato – https://www.cato.org/blog/no-one-knows-how-long-legal-immigrants-will-have-wait

            For all that we care, it may be a fully paid research or a totally biased one. And until someone (economist/data scientist and the like) proves it false otherwise or has a rebuttal with actual numbers instead of a “many” or “looooong” (with many many o’s in between l and ng), the points mentioned in the article above stand good.

            As to “how” these greencard queues are processed, one needs to have a good understanding of

            1) Per country limits for greencards,
            2) “Retrogression” of “priority dates” –> This is a huge and deep subject in itself.
            3) H-1/L-1s are counted per principal applicant and LPRs are each and every applicant.

            Footnote: I am NOT surprised that no one has made a rebuttal for the study mentioned above – Cartel $$s at work.. As for Mr. Matloff, I understand from one of his recent comments that he does not have the time/bandwidth currently to do such a rebuttal study.

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          • Multitudes of reasons why queue length is unpredictable. An elder in the queue – 10 year wait, may not even be alive in 10 years. Employment based, person may move on. The worker+extendedfamily, via Indian labor alone, has pushed the queue way out. So they can say the existing queue is this-many-years-out, but they cannot tell with any amount of predictability that someone in the queue will receive LPR in X years.
            Congress considering axing +extendedfamily, best guess, likely to grandfather (grandmother? pun intended) existing queue entries.

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          • Last I knew (I don’t know if it’s general but) 5 years residency as an LPR required before green card application – 1 queue. Employment based green card, different queue.

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  5. I have personal experience with what I consider the misuse of SSI payments such as you describe. In the 90’s, I had health issues and needed to apply for disability. My SS disability was denied, as my lawyer said it would be, because according to him I was too white, too educated, and too young, and thus ineligible. However, he did tell me that if I didn’t speak English, my whiteness, education, and age would be irrelevant.

    I never did get those benefits to which I had contributed for so many years and eventually had to sell my home. My Chinese neighbors who had a grandmother on SSI caring for their children, while they both worked, purchased my home. The elderly Chinese lady received a check every month for which she had never contributed a cent, while I got nothing.

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  6. I have heard radio hosts claim the same issues exist within Russian-American communities. Any feedback?

    I have seen many government programs abused, and there seems to be an unwillingness for government policies and officials to be careful, diligent, frugal with our resources. When Gavin Newsome was Mayor of San Francisco, new vetting requirements revealed a 50 percent abuse rates in one welfare program!

    Firebrand radio host Michael Savage claims to cover these welfare abuses in his new book “Trumps War”.

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    • Yes, the same issues, but with a major difference: The Russians tend to come under Refugee status, which means the government gives them welfare without sponsorship. For the non-refugee groups, e.g. Chinese and Korean, they have to have a family sponsor, who promises to keep them off welfare, but who from the start intends them to go on welfare. It’s all abuse, of course, but there are some nuances.

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      • Dr. Matloff, you may have touched on this years ago when I heard you speak at St. Mary’s College. If I recall, you said their children are responsible for them for 5 years, but we could extend that to their lifetime.

        Of coarse, any such questions in most Northern California areas will lead to charges of racism.

        In my youth, it was an insult to be on welfare.

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        • Originally, a senior immigrant needed to have been in the U.S. for 3 years to get SSI. In 1993, the government found that immigrant use of SSI had been skyrocketing. Reportedly, Dan Rostenkowsky, the Democratic chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, was quite angry over this, and Congress change the 3-year figure to 5. But immigrant usage continued to rise briskly, and the 1996 Welfare Reform Act then contained a provision to require that the immigrant naturalize in order to get cash benefits. The bill was enacted, though amended the next year with a grandfather clause.

          I agree with you 100% on your last paragraph. When I was a kid, my parents would not take welfare, even in times of financial desperation.

          Thanks for reminding me of that St. Mary’s talk. I remember I was received warmly upon arrival, until the hostess learned which side I was representing. 🙂

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  7. > In the early 1990s, my connection to immigrant communities exposed me to rather shocking (but legal) abuse of two government programs. You already know one of them — the H-1B work visa program.

    I’ve long thought that one of the problems is the tendency of government and other groups to champion policies that focus on small groups of individuals but ignore everyone else. Hence, we have sites like fwd.us that list the touching biographies of immigrant workers, many of whom may have faced severe difficulties and whom most reasonable people would wish the best for. Judging from everything on this site, one would judge that no native workers have such problems, much less that any of them may have problems that stem in part from policies that FWD.us is pushing. In fact, the only mention of native workers that I do see there are bogus claims like the one that your average foreign worker creates jobs for native workers.

    Similarly, the government focuses their attention on some nice, elderly immigrants, pushed no doubt by supporting special interest groups, and decides that we need to treat them like we would treat our own beloved grandparents. Meanwhile, many poor, elderly natives, who have no special interest groups supporting them, are treated as though they don’t exist, at least when it comes to this policy. The fact that we have only so much money (borrowed or not) and that any of it that is improperly spent on nice, elderly immigrants cannot be spent on those poor, elderly natives is never a consideration. If you come under the government’s gaze, you are fawned over but if you escape the government’s gaze, you are ignored.

    I think that this is a bipartisan problem. Democrats fawn over these groups and ignore many of the less visible poor and unemployed. Republicans fawn over other groups like certain small-business owners who make great efforts and are mistreated in one way or another and ignore many workers who likewise make great efforts and are mistreated. Both groups need to make a true attempt to keep the entire electorate in mind when they design policies. It is surely more difficult but it is the only way to come up with rational, balanced policies.

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        • There is a whole lot wrong about the ridiculous obvious inversion of priorities emanating from Washington.
          Refugees, while grateful they’re safe, devolve into WTH!?! when they discover there is no “plan”, they (too) are just dumped into a broken economy (many are shunted into small cities in decline). They’re incentivized via a one time stipend per refugee. Industry propagandized this with “immigrants create businesses!” because a bodega opens in the blighted neighborhood.
          The federal duplicity of “Heros!” becomes obvious when “Heros!” are disposed of upon return.
          As for “children of single parents who are known to have many academic and social problems.”, OUR culture, including political and economic configuration, is dysfunctional. The more dysfunctional it becomes, the more our native population shrinks. The more it shrinks, the more the feds ramp up immigration – rather than fix the causes of that dysfunction (poverty/living wage/etc.). THAT is not the immigrants’ fault.

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          • I agree that the claim “immigrants create businesses” is misleading and overhyped. But there is a grain of truth to it. As I’ve written before, there is an old (60s-era) mall near where I live that had been falling apart — my wife and I refer to it routinely as “the dilapidated mall” — and is now humming with immigrant businesses. There are many restaurants — Mexican, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese — and Mexican and Chinese supermarkets and so on. The parking lot is jammed, and there are lots of mainstream (i.e. non-“ethnic”) customers.

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          • Which is business lost – from the wage decimated, which is excluded from the math of “immigrants ‘create’ business/jobs”. What you cite, this mall, came at the expense of others, it didn’t just appear out of thin air. So former mall, are you claiming it hit the skids for no reason? Like the plethora in rust belt?

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  8. Another aspect is what this does to housing prices.

    A traditional citizen IT worker, where the wife stays at home, is searching for housing on one income. He’s competing with a H1B who’s wife is allowed to work under current – she’s maybe a IT worker as well. Add in the parent’s SSI and its probably 2 to 3 times what the citizen can offer and pay.

    While I’ve met frugal H1Bs, many fit the stereotype of the “driven” H1B that wants the BMW, the Rolex, the expensive vacations and the big fancy home. Many of the upper-middle class neighborhoods near tech centers are becoming highly saturated with H1Bs.

    Recently, the Oregon media has had numerous stories over the high cost of housing and the plight of the underclass to find affordable rent or mortgages. But thy refuse to realize that increased immigration and policies like these add demand to the market and make matters worse.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/seattle-home-prices-hit-700000-for-first-time-after-doubling-in-five-years/?utm_source=news.google.com&utm_medium=Referral&utm_campaign=rss_editors_picks_feed_business&google_editors_picks=true

    Social programs should be mirror the saying,

    “Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.”

    In the 90s when Pres. Clinton and the GOP did some welfare reform, 20/20 did an episode on welfare fraud. They asked a California fraud investigator how much fraud there was. He said in some areas it was as high as 70%.

    The left needs to throw support behind reforming these programs. Otherwise, expect them to be cut drastically in the future if not go bankrupt entirely.

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    • “policies like these add demand to the market and make matters worse.”
      I’ve not looked in the past year or so, but last I did, in the top 2 lobbyists: National Realtors Association.
      The most disturbing to me has been,
      http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/column-5-2-percent-income-growth-doldrums/
      the tent dwellers of Seattle are working.
      Regarding fraud, many years ago an H1B I worked with said Americans are naive. The fraud she sees bothers her, which she calls “against the American spirit”.

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      • >> an H1B I worked with said Americans are naive

        The bigger point is the cartel is pulling all sort of levers ($$$) – While the “pro american worker” advocacy groups are twiddling thumbs.

        Case in point 1- Current Omnibus has H-2B visa count getting hiked, which the “best of the best” — advocacy groups/favorite congressional members — could stop !

        Case in point 2: EB-5

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        • Pro US advocacy support being ignored isn’t “doing nothing”.
          DOL/DOJ says speak – is anyone calling?
          Right now, my impression is, those hammered by foreign replacement discover: it’s legal. More and more if its dysfunction has been made legal. Illegitimate, as in we are well aware unethical, but legal.

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  9. Norm, forgot to ask – is there any proposal in Congress to change these rules?

    People getting benefits for which they never contributed a penny is idiotic and suicidal for the said program.

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    • Times have changed politically. In the early to mid-1990s, the Democrats were quite willing to speak out against these abuses. As I said, the Democratic-controlled House lengthened to time to become eligible from 3 to 5 years; CA Senator Feinstein spoke out; Rep. Nancy Pelosi told me personally that she supported tightening up; Mike Honda, then a CA State Senator, introduced legislation to tighten up on the state level. In early 1996, Bill Clinton supported a reduction in legal immigration, especially chain migration. Mario Cuomo of NY made his famous statement, “Immigrants are great, but they are expensive.”

      But right around then, it all changed. Chinese-American and ethnic Chinese foreign nationals bombarded Clinton and the Democrats with money. (Johnny Chung etc.; Google it). Well-off Chinese-Americans from all over the country, many of them tech CEOs, bankrolled Mike Honda to run for Congress. (I was invited to attend one of the backyard fundraising event in Silicon Valley.) Clinton appointed Chinese-American activist Yvonne Lee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and she became the community’s main conduit to the White House on welfare for the elderly.

      Today, you just are not going to see a clampdown. However, there is a fair amount of bipartisan support for ending chain migration, and indirectly that would cut down on the abuse somewhat.

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      • There does not seem to be a plan to end the sponsorship of parents as immediate relatives or of adult children. it is absurd that even a permanent resident can sponsor an unmarried child and that child’s minor child (grandchild of the original immigrant) tags along as a derivative beneficiary. Just what we do not need more of is children of single parents who are known to have many academic and social problems.

        Since immigrant parents will still be free to sponsor their other children and those children’s spouses and children, the problem of chain migration is reduced but not eliminated. In reality, the only limit to sponsorship is income; there does not seem to be any restriction to using government payments as income.

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  10. I have no problems with people using welfare in high cost cities such as SF. I blame the government. Why is the government providing assistance (food, utilities, medical, child care, housing, school lunch, etc) to workers in high cost areas such as SF? The government can save money by moving these low-income workers in SF to low cost areas such as Topeka even if there is no job available for them. Businesses in SF will be forced to pay a living wage. Rental rates will decline. The city can not function without these workers. The reason businesses in SF can pay non-living wages to certain workers is because the government will provide assistance to the worker. The government assistance drives down the prevailing wage for certain occupations and increases net worth inequality.

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    • Federal assistance for underpaid workers is circuitous corporate welfare, in the business community called “externalizing expenses”.
      The federal policy/practice re:immigrants/immigration intentionally creates labor glut. Net benefit to the 1%, general wage suppression and the 99% foot the bill.
      This is by no means accidental.
      And, is not beneficial to immigrants either, the illegal nor visa indentured.
      Record profits aren’t falling from the sky. This is one of the many means.

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      • This is exactly why the legendary labor leader Cesar Chavez wanted the border closed! He reportedly even dispatched a relative to rough up a few people.

        Thirty, 40, 45 million illegal immigrants hammer wages on the bottom end. Reports from San Francisco claim up to 14 people living in a one bedroom apartment in San Francisco. With that supply, no need to raise wages. I grew up in a solid middle class area dominated by the trades. I don’t see those neighborhoods today.

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        • “up to 14 people living in a one bedroom apartment in San Francisco.”
          Not uncommon in NYC, rooms of bunkbeds, where bed is rented for 8 hours use.
          Worst of the worst, nail salons, which have captive wageless immigrant sleep in the store.
          “Sanctuary” appears to be sanctuary of illegal employers.
          Feds, who can capture a snapshot of flea’s rear end with a satellite, who can find an American paycheck on the other side of the planet to tax it, can’t stop this?, no, won’t stop this.

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