Two Ways Illegal Aliens Get Treated Better Than Americans

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.

Legal Aid

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.

Welfare Assistance

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.

About Author


Colton joined FAIR in 2018 as a legislative advisor for state and local policy. Prior to FAIR, Colton responded to constituent needs and legislative issues in the offices of U.S. Senator Thom Tillis and U.S. Representatives Virginia Foxx, Mark Meadows, and Richard Hudson. His congressional service covered a wide range of policy issues including agriculture, immigration, health care, welfare, and economic development. Before this, he was responsible for direct lobbying, grassroots mobilization, and strategic initiatives for several advocacy groups, including the North Carolina Association of Realtors, the Susan B. Anthony List, and Concerned Veterans for America. Colton holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Sociology from Western Carolina University.


  1. avatar

    My friend was a US Army vet. He worked in manufacturing and led a modest life. He was a maker of religious stained glass art works. He shared hundreds of his pieces with those troubled and having been in the prison system. He fell ill and suffered from the years of hard work in the manufacturing setting and was no longer able to work. After several months of no work and mounting medical bills, he went down to the local government center to request assistance to buy food. He was turned down. However, the man (an illegal immigrant) at the next window was approved. They departed at the same time. As the illegal immigrant headed to his new truck, he took his stack of folded cash out of his pocket, flashed it at my friend and commented, “You just have to know how to work the system”.

  2. avatar

    Can you imagine if all we hard working, legal citizen taxpayers simply refused to pay our taxes until these scams were seriously, actively addressed and eliminated?

    All the bilions going to support illegal aliens and their welfare-ticket anchor babies could be used to repair and restore the infrastucture of our country and BUILD THE WALL!

    Why can’t we fed-up citizens contribute to a GoFundMe account to raise money for such wall???

  3. avatar

    If you live in California, Vote for John Cox for governor. He has promised to fight the sanctuary lovers.

  4. avatar
    Deborah Schaer on

    It is also against U.S. Immigration law to use taxpayer funds to defend illegal aliens.

  5. avatar

    Illegals in most states get in-state tuition at colleges while citizens must pay out of state tuition. This is so wrong!

  6. avatar

    This entire article assumes that all immigrants are illegal. No illegal immigrant is eligible for any welfare benefit, save emergency medical assistance. As for the statement about having US citizen children, ,of course they are eligible – because they are. US. citizens. Free legal aid is available for US citizens with low income – just because some states have a specific line item for immigrants doesn’t mean US citizens don’t as well. Neither pays for ‘helping to evade the law’. There are laws being ignored every day by ICE

    • avatar

      From what that was said here do you make the assumption that “this entire article assumes that all immigrants are illegal”? That’s you making something up out of nothing. It clearly does no such thing. So much for your reading comprehension and credibility. And those “citizen children” are only here because of their parents illegal actions. It’s come here and get on the gravy train.

      Try and do the math. A hundred years ago this did not happen because if you came here and had a family it was YOU who paid for their care, not the taxpayer, because there were none of these welfare programs. We cannot have a modern welfare society and allow in people who are low education and low paid because the government, meaning we the taxpayers, ends up paying for their families. Even a lot of legal immigrants end up on some kind of welfare after a certain number of years. A lot bring their elderly parents with a promise to support them and after a few years they are applying for SSI and subsidized housing because “things have changed”.

      THAT is why Trump is proposing that those coming in have a certain level of income and are unlikely to go on welfare. Welfare for our own citizens is one thing. Welfare for masses of citizens of another country is a bad idea.

      • avatar

        The rest of family coming over to help with “emotional support” for a green carders or legal seeking person, are called their Possee.
        The term applies to any people the person feels will assist him in the future, so they all are allowed to eat the gravy too..
        Then the one seeking a Green card is allowed a “Grant” of $35,000 to purchase a franchise( eg. taxi)—–$10,000 for an automobile, $15,000 toward college!!
        All this has been going on for DECADES.
        But a legal person is not allowed ANY Grant money.
        All this money being given through the Small Business Administration.
        Read it yourself, then 4 years they are allowed to own it and not show a profit.
        Sell it the 5th year to another Possee member and they do that another 4 years, etc.,etc.

    • avatar

      Did you miss the part about the illegals not being means tested for these programs as American citizens are? Explain how an infant qualifies for Section 8 when it can’t rent an apartment.
      Yea, go after ICE…they’re the problem, not the millions of illegals sucking off American taxpayers.

    • avatar

      I’m interested in what your qualifications are. Do you work for the federal or state department for disbursement of these government assistance (give away) funds? If so I would appreciate your contacting the Head of the Department and explain to him or her that we have thousands of homeless individuals living under bridges in ally’s and on the side walks of large cities. I quit reading so I don’t know what your comment on ICE was but, ICE is essential and every State and City should work with them

    • avatar

      “Illegals” cost the American Taxpayer $BILLIONS every year. Just because you have your head up your poop hole, don’t mean it is not happening!. Imbecile.

    • avatar

      L Kay take it you can’t read as it spells out what they are able to receive and the cost.

    • avatar

      This is why we MUST end birthright citizenship. No other country currently grants citizenship to children of illegals.

    • avatar

      Where is your proof that ICE is ignoring OUR laws? Seems to me that states and cities declaring themselves “Sanctuary” are breaking our immigration laws. NO where in this article did it state that all immigrants are illegal. I’m really sick of the lawlessness of sanctuary cities and states putting law breakers in front of American citizens who pay for all of this. FU Demon rat scumbuckets. We are a Nation of Laws and the whole system has been turned upside down especially by people like you. Why do you think all our social programs are going broke?

    • avatar

      Agreed, L Kay! This article is quite skewed.
      I work under my state’s Dept. of Human Services, which sometimes entails working with immigrant families, some who are not legal.
      I can attest to the fact that the non-legal persons in the household are NOT eligible to receive state funds, period. And yes, they are required to prove their citizenship status.

      Yes, if any of their children are U.S. citizens, then they may receive funds (food stamps, for example) for those eligible persons. There are very specific guidelines that dictate the amount allowed based on the number of eligible persons in the home & the income requirements in order to qualify — this goes for any & all applicants.

      And, NO, just because their child may be a U.S. citizen, DOES NOT make them eligible for other assistance programs, such as Section 8 housing.

      As for the free legal assistance programs,
      I think that having access to legal representation to assist them in navigating a foreign country’s complicated judicial system is a far cry from helping them “evade the law.” (And, yes, there are also free legal assistance programs for low-income Americans).

      • avatar

        How come Gavin Newsom, candidate for governor in California, wants to give universal health care to all illegals?

    • avatar

      Speaking just of illegal aliens you are correct that they are not eligible for most benefits. That, however, is different from whether or not they receive them. So many have fake ID’s, fake or stolen SS#’s and multiples at that. I have an ICE agent friend who has told me when they arrest these people they almost all have various benefit cards on their person often more multiples of the same card in different names.

      He’s asked some of them how they get them and their answer is always the same. I just walk in and sign up. Of course I live in California so they get whatever they want.

    • avatar
      Geoge Tyrebyter on

      It is long overdue that the 14th Amendment is misinterpreted as it is. We need to enforce the “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” to indicate that ONLY current citizens give birth to new citizens.

  7. avatar

    It would be helpful to know if any of the absurdities reported above are being challenged by any specific politicians. Re: SNAP, TANF and so on.

  8. avatar

    School lunch programs (and breakfast and dinner) are a backdoor way to get welfare to illegal aliens by pretending it is a benefit to all. yet look at the make-up of the student body at the schools where it is most often applicable.