Mexican native Jose Ramos recently made the dangerous trip across the US border into Texas. Now, he wishes he’d stayed home.*
Mr. Ramos–which is not his real name–told The Daily Face Palm he came to the US in search of a better life. A single man in his late 20s, Ramos said he was particularly interested in mooching off the US welfare system.
“I heard all these debates going on in the US about illegal immigration and how illegals received billions of dollars each year,” Ramos said. “I wanted to get in on that.”
Ramos explained that there were plenty of economic opportunities in the city where he lived in Mexico–also withheld for security reasons. He even had a job lined up that paid well. But the prospect of living a luxurious life in the US on welfare without even working was just too tempting to pass up.
Ramos’s story sounded suspiciously similar to conservative rhetoric about why immigrants risk life and limb come to the US. Unfortunately, his plan didn’t work out.
“Imagine my surprise when I learned that undocumented immigrants aren’t eligible for welfare benefits at all,” Ramos continued, clearly shaken by the experience. “I just felt betrayed.”
After more research, Ramos discovered that many studies on welfare benefits received by illegal immigrants tend to rely on a questionable methodology.** That’s how a number which is actually zero can get estimated at thousands of dollars per illegal immigrant–incredibly powerful statistics.
We reached out to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), an anti-immigration think tank which authored one such study on illegal immigrant welfare. Raul Batista, a spokesman for CIS, said the whole thing was “just a big misunderstanding.”
Batista explained that the purpose of CIS’s analysis was simply “to bullshit US voters into supporting xenophobic policies.” CIS didn’t believe any Mexican natives would be tricked into coming to the US because “they don’t read American.”
However, Batista was quick to add that “CIS was deeply sorry that people like Mr. Ramos had entered the US.”
*Note that all of the individuals quoted in this piece are entirely fictional. However, CIS is a real think tank that has authored studies along the lines discussed above.
**At least in this case, the study counts at the household level instead of counting benefits received by individual immigrants. This is necessary because, as noted, illegal immigrants are not able to receive benefits from any of the prominent federal welfare programs (Medicaid, food stamps, etc.) However, if they happen to have a child in the US, the child is a US citizen that would be eligible for such benefits. This article offers a good explanation of why such an approach is highly dubious.