In recent decades our government has treated aliens and U.S. citizens as equals. At other times, the federal government and especially state and local governments have afforded special privileges to aliens, including illegal ones, at the expense of the American taxpayer—privileges that even U.S. citizens often don’t have access to.
While the authority to create immigration law belongs to Congress under the Constitution, state and local governments have been busy in recent years writing their own laws to support illegal aliens. Here are just two glaring examples of them treating illegal aliens better than American citizens.
Thanks to dedicated legal defense funds, illegal aliens may now use U.S. tax dollars to evade the law. Approximately 30 states and jurisdictions have established such legal funds or grant programs over the past two years or so, which provide legal aid to illegal aliens who face deportation.
The 2018 New York State budget included a grant of $4 million to significantly expand the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP). The NYIFUP guarantees “universal, quality legal representation” for illegal aliens who reside or are being detained in the state of New York. On top of this, since 2017 the state has funded the “public-private partnership” Liberty Defense Project to the tune of $10 million a year. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and the NYC City Council made a commitment of $16.4 million and $10 million respectively, bringing total government spending in the Empire State to more than $40 million.
The Chicago City Council has appropriated monies toward its own illegal-immigrant defense fund, also. Proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) at the end of 2016 and approved by the city council in 2017, it uses $1.3 million in city funds annually to “pay for [illegal aliens’]legal services or to help them navigate other options to try [and]avoid deportation.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis (D) also created a legal fund in 2017, called the L.A. Justice Fund. Modeled after programs in other cities, the L.A. Justice Fund uses $10 million in “city and county money to help [illegal aliens]avoid deportation” and navigate the court system.
Of course, American citizens cannot access these legal services despite them being funded with their own tax dollars, and need not apply.
There is perhaps nothing more incensing to the American taxpayer than welfare abuse, especially by those who don’t pay into the system. Under federal law, illegal aliens are ineligible for welfare benefits (see 8 U.S. Code §1611). However, illegal aliens may receive welfare indirectly from the federal government if they have U.S.-born children.
While most welfare programs have a means-test (“income limit”), they almost never apply to illegal alien parents who have U.S.-born children. This is in spite of American citizen parents being subject to stringent disclosure requirements like proof of income, proof of assets owned, proof of household expenses, and other essential information.
Programs offering such benefits to illegal aliens and their children include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The SNAP program provides food assistance (“food stamps”) to low-and-no-income people and the TANF program provides cash assistance to low-and-no-income families with one or more dependent children. TANF is co-funded by the states and helps pay for food, shelter, utilities, and other living expenses. Both programs are administered by states which are free to utilize it beyond basic federal guidelines to alleviate poverty.
The eligibility requirements for SNAP are based on household income. However, income earned by illegal alien parents is not used to calculate whether their citizen children qualify for the program. Accordingly, virtually all citizen children of illegal aliens qualify for SNAP.
Surprisingly, the eligibility requirements for TANF are far looser than those for SNAP. Illegal alien parents need only submit “child only” applications for TANF benefits, which are processed by state authorities without verifying the parent’s immigration status. In stark contrast to this, U.S. parents must prove that they are at-or-below the income threshold for TANF and are working, seeking work, or training for employment.
Some states require verification of immigration status for either SNAP or TANF benefits; however, disturbingly, most do not.
Approximately 1.3 million children of illegal aliens are likely to draw SNAP benefits, which costs the American taxpayer almost $2 billion per year. Similarly, the cost of TANF attributable to illegal alien families who have U.S. born children is approximately $2.1 billion per year, with a combined total cost of $4.1 billion per year, according to a 2017 report by FAIR.
Is this equitable? FAIR doesn’t think so. Americans deserve better from their government, at all levels. This is shameful at best and criminal at worst.