Immigrants Use More Welfare Than Natives Do

The Claim:

This is a favorite claim from CIS researchers, so we’ll show two examples: First, Steven Camarota claims that the Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) shows immigrant households use welfare at significantly higher rates than native households, even higher than indicated by other Census surveys. Most recently, Jason Richwine—another CIS contributor, disgraced after his dissertation was scrutinized for claiming that Latino immigrants to the United States are and will likely remain less intelligent than “native whites”—published a report on the welfare cost of immigration claiming that immigrant-headed households consume more welfare than natives.

The Problem:

CIS omits key data in producing this result

Both Camarota and Richwine use questionable methods to reach their conclusions. The Cato Institute points out that Camarota omitted a lot of information that would make for a better comparison between immigrants and natives. Simply put, his study does not compare apples to apples but rather apples to elephants. And with Richwine, Cato demonstrates how Richwine’s findings “bury results” that undermine his headline findings.