U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Falsehoods on Immigration – Part 7

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has put up a website giving what it calls “10 Immigration Facts Everyone Can Agree To.” The so-called facts are both falsehoods and half-truths. Here is their #7:

U.S. Chamber’s Myth: “Immigrants come to the U.S. for welfare benefits.”

U.S. Chamber’s Fact: “Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for federal public benefit programs, and even legal immigrants face stringent eligibility restrictions.”

FAIR’s Fact:

Illegal aliens come normally for jobs and are not eligible for means-tested welfare benefits. However, they do qualify for emergency medical care, including for childbirth, and children born here enable the parents to apply for welfare benefits on their behalf. Legal immigrants have the same access to welfare benefits as a U.S. citizen after they have been in the country for five years although, in theory, they may be deported if they become welfare dependent.

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

    819,000 international students in US colleges in the 2012-13 school year, up 7% from the year before, and 235,000 from China. How dumb are we to educate the students of a country that is no longer so much of a military threat as it is a political and economic threat? We know for sure they are stealing every bit of our technology they can.

    As for the issue of illegals not getting welfare, it’s a distinction without a difference. Most people without children do not get any welfare and if they do it is usually small. When illegals have US born children, it’s those children that make the family eligible for welfare benefits of all kinds. And their families tend to be large. The people who keep repeating that illegals don’t get welfare either should know better or they continue to lie. My guess is they know they are lying.