Facts and Myths about Immigration and Social Services

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There are myths about illegal aliens and their alleged drain on social services. How does an illegal alien receive welfare or government assistance?

The definition of an “illegal alien” is someone who has not completed the naturalization process, and exists in the country without official notice to the government. People who are born here all have social security numbers assigned to them shortly after birth and this is the government’s way of keeping track of everyone.

Someone may be an illegal alien because they came to work here on a visa then stayed longer than stated on the visa, or if someone came here as a stowaway or crossed the border without registering. How does someone have a job and pay taxes if they are not a citizen?

There are employers that hire people “under the table”, and there are other employers that provide fake social security numbers for people. However, those without a real or fake social security number cannot participate in any government services besides going into a homeless shelter, and this is shaky ground. There are numerous other programs they would not qualify for since they have no proof of income.

Myth: Illegal’s get Free Medical from the State, or Reduced Lunch from Schools

To qualify for free medical or reduced lunch, or foodstamps requires a lot of documentation and proof that the income is below the range set by the state. An applicant must show tax returns, paychecks, bank account information, and all of this cannot be obtained without having a social security number. So if a person is receiving these benefits they are paying for them the same as everyone else, and would not be illegal or would have an illegal social security number. So either an immigrant is paying for any possible services, or they are not receiving any services.

Myth: Illegal Immigrants all Receive Federal Subsidy on Housing

Subsidized housing is for low income families, the operative word being low income-not zero income. Applicants cannot get this housing if they have no income. This is why there are people who are sometimes homeless, if they have no income, they cannot get this type of housing and have to wait in lines at shelters.

A federal subsidy cannot be obtained if they are illegal, because of the requirement to have proof of income, tax documents and pay stubs or welfare-none of which can be obtained to receive welfare either without documentation. Having no documentation is what equals being an illegal alien
Myth: People Easily Abuse the System

‘The system’ is set up to be extremely difficult for anyone to get anything, even those that need it most and are qualified under the laws that have been set. Anyone who has had to apply for assistance knows how it can take weeks or months for papers to be reviewed, and sometimes rejected. Those who collect off the system had to work very hard, be persistent with the people in the system to receive any assistance.

Immigration is a normal procedure that occurs in all countries, and requires several steps, tests and money for a person to become a citizen. One of the aspects of becoming a citizen is requiring a person to live and work in this country for a standard period of time (three to five years) before they can apply to become a citizen.

The main different between an illegal and a legal immigrant is whether the government knows they are here. Assistance may be received from private organizations run by individuals. Income is what gets someone assistance in the United States, or disability, without either, there are no services available. This is one of the biggest myths about the system that many will not talk about. The likelihood of someone who has nothing getting something is not legal.