Immigrants use Public Benefits at Lower Rates than Native-Born Citizens

A recently released report from the Cato Institute confirms what earlier research has found  – that immigrants use public benefits at lower rates, and have a lower per capita benefits cost, than native-born U.S. citizens.

Other studies, some of which are synthesized in this Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Working Paper,  have shown that on balance, immigrants contribute more in taxes than they use in benefits.   Cato‘s recent report is particularly relevant at this moment -when the administration has created a new regulation to drastically reduce legal immigration to the U.S. through the application of new criteria by which intending immigrants will be judged to be likely to become “public charges” and denied residency accordingly.

That new rule is being legally challenged in multiple lawsuits across the country, although the Supreme Court lifted a nationwide injunction blocking its application while the challenges proceed, as explained here.

Recently, more than 100 businesses, including HP,  Levi Strauss, and Microsoft filed an amicus brief in one of the pending legal challenges to the new public charge rule.  They state:

Amici file this brief to explain why the final Public Charge Rule ….creates substantial, unprecedented, and unnecessary obstacles for individuals seeking to come to the United States or, once here, to adjust their immigration status (to permanent residency). By hindering immigration—including the movement of highly-skilled immigrants—the Rule will slow economic growth, prevent businesses from expanding, and break faith with core American values. This is bad policy for American businesses and American taxpayers, and amici have a vital interest in ensuring that the Rule is properly held unlawful.

Immigrants, regardless of their economic, educational, and linguistic backgrounds have contributed to the U.S. economically, culturally and politically for centuries.  The Cato Institute‘s recent analysis reminds us that the data underscores what our history already illustrates – immigrants are here to get to work, not to depend on public benefits.