Welfare Use by Illegal Alien Families Rises Rapidly

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), the welfare program for families living in poverty, is accessible by illegal aliens on behalf of their U.S.-born children. In those instances, the cases are identified as “child-only” cases. Not all “child-only” cases are the children of illegal aliens; it is one of four categories, and in some cases the parents may be recent immigrants not yet eligible for welfare benefits.

On September 8, the director in the Government Accountability Office that overseas the TANF program testified before Congress that the share of immigrant “child-only” families that received TANF increased from 10.8% in 2000 to 19.1% in 2008. The number of “child-only” families was more than half (50.5%) of all TANF families in 2008, numbering 814,977. The immigrant status cases therefore numbered about 155,660 families.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar

    We import poverty on a massive scale. Seem like kind of a big deal but somehow it’s never talked about when poverty is discussed. Immigration used to bring above average income, education, and skill–now it’s the opposite. Nothing to talk about here…

    • avatar

      Why should Americans suffer and Senior Citizens get their Social Security Benefits slash when the federal government hands out millions to illegal immigrants who have anchor babies to get welfare benefits?

      How can the government pay illegals when they do not have a social security number and therefore should not be filing taxes? Did they actually pay payroll taxes ? How is that possible if they do not have a social security nunber?

      If Congress and the President are serious about balancing the budget and illegal Immigration they would pass a new law that you are not considered to be born a US Citizen if both of your parents are in the United States illegally therefore you do not qualify for any federal aid. This would save millions in federal aid on free breakfast and lunch programs giving those dollars back to the school system so that they can keep teachers, fix schools and this would eliminate overcrowding of schools if they were not given tax payer education. It cost millions to have bilingual education which is mainly compose of illegal Hispanics from Mexico and other countries. I do not know of any bilingual education for other languages such as Korean, Italian, and Vietnamese etc.

      This would stop illegals from crossing over the border and send a lot of them back to their native countries when they no longer can drain the government because they choose to come here illegal even give birth on the border so that their children can get government monies.

      We American tax payers cannot avoid to take care of people because they choose to break our laws and to drain our purses by having children in the US that they cannot avoid. I see no reason why Americans should become second class citizens in their own country?

      I think congress and the President are making Americans second class citizens by allowing illegal aliens more rights than citizens.

      They need to stop trying to appeal to Hispanic voters and do the right thing for Americans the tax payers, the citizens that are suffering in this country and they should start by stopping benefits to illegals and their anchor babies. They can always go home if they do not like not living off of tax payers.

      • avatar

        We need to enforce laws already on the books. Big time fines for employers and Deport, Deport, Deport as quickly as possible for all illegals. We need to use more dogs on the border. We need to build the 25-30 foot pole fences to stop vehicle based dope runs and illegal alien mass rushes over the border. No welfare, no education, no medical, nothing for illegals but a bus ride back to the border.

  2. avatar
    Ana Zuniga-Maus on

    There are women that only come to America to have children, because of all the benefits they can get in the name of that child. There are businesses that exist solely to advertise in other countries to get pregnant women to come have their children here, and get all the benefits that come with an American baby. All of this, and our elected officials in Washington refuse to stop the abuse. America is in big trouble, because Washington and this government refuse to put America and American citizens first, plain and simple.

  3. avatar

    I agree 100% with Delaware Bob! You want to know why we are running out of money? He hit the nail right on the head! Time to ship them all home! My kids can’t get welfare or free education, free housing, food stamps! And we were born and raised here for generations! They need to go!

  4. avatar

    That’s amazing, because the children born in the the United States to illegal aliens are indeed illegal aliens themselves. This has been misued for years.

    For your sake, let me try to figure this out again. It is against the law to enter this Country ILLEGALLY. Correct? OK. However, if you do come into this country ILLEGALLY and have a child, we will reward that child with a U.S. birth certificate and make him or her a citizen of the United States, pay for the birth and get the child on welfare so the mother can get money to stay in this country…and that’s not ALL! We will school that child and the child will get food stamps, the child will get FREE school lunches, and that’s not ALL! The mother and the child can have FREE healthcare and get into public housing, and that’s not ALL! The more children you have, the more money you will get. But keep in mind, it is against the law to enter this country ILLEGALLY! Do I have that right? OK. How do you feel about Birth Tourism?


    These birth certificates that have been issued must some how get revoked.