United States. Congress. House. Committee on Ways.

Impact of immigration on welfare programs : hearing before the Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, first session, November 15, 1993 online

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IMPACT OF IMMIGRATION ON WELFARE
PROGRAMS



Y 4. W 36: 103-58

Inpact of Innigration on Welfare Pr. . .

HEARING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON HUMAN RESOURCES

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS
HOUSE OP REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION



NOVEMBER 15, 1993



Serial 103-58



Printed for the use of the Committee on Ways and Means







U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
7&-305 CC WASraNGTON : 1994

For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents. Congressional Sales Office. Washington, DC 20402
ISBN 0-16-044206-0



IMPACT OF IMMIGRATION ON WELFARE
PROGRAMS



Y 4, W 36: 103-58

Inpact of Innigration on Welfare Pr...

HEARING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON HUMAN RESOURCES

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS
FIRST SESSION



NOVEMBER 15, 1993



Serial 103-58



Printed for the use of the Committee on Ways and Means







U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
76-305 CC WASraNGTON : 1994

For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office. Washington, DC 20402
ISBN 0-16-0AA206-0



COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS
DAN ROSTENKOWSKI, Hlinois, Chcdrmtm



SAM M. GIBBONS, Florida
J J. PICKLE, Texas
CHARLES B. RANGEL, New York
FORTNEY PETE STARK, California
ANDY JACOBS, Jr., Indiana
HAROLD E. FORD, Tennessee
ROBERT T. MATSUI, California
BARBARA B. KENNELLY, Connecticut
WILLIAM J. COYNE, Pennsylvania
MICHAEL A. ANDREWS, Texas
SANDER M. LEVIN, Michigan
BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, Maryland
JIM McDERMOTT, Washington
GERALD D. KLECZKA, Wisconsin
JOHN LEWIS, Georgia
L.F. PAYNE, Virginia
RICHARD E. NEAL, Massachusetts
PETER HOAGLAJTO, Nebraska
MICHAEL R. MCNULTY, New York
MIKE KOPETSKI, Oregon
WILLIAM J. JEFFERSON, Louisiana
BILL K. BREWSTER, Oklahoma
MEL REYNOLDS. Illinois



BILL ARCHER, Texas
PHILIP M. CRANE, niinois
BILL THOMAS, California
E. CLAY SHAW, JR., Florida
DON SUNDQUIST, Tennessee
NANCY L. JOHNSON, Connecticut
JIM BUNNING, Kentucky
FRED GRANDY, Iowa
AMO HOUGHTON, New York
WALLY HERGER, California
JIM McCRERY, Louisiana
MEL HANCOCK, Missouri
RICK SANTORUM, Pennsylvania
DAVE CAMP, Michigan



Janice Mays, Chief Counsel and Staff Director
Charles M. Brain, Assistant Staff Director
Pmlup D. MoseleY, Minority Chief of Staff



Subcommittee on Human Resources

HAROLD E. FORD. Tennessee. Chairman



ROBERT T. MATSUI, California
JIM McDERMOTT, Washington
SANDER M. LEVIN, Michigan
MIKE KOPETSKI, Oregon
MEL REYNOLDS, Illinois
BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, Maryland



RICK SANTORUM, Pennsylvania
E. CLAY SHAW, JR, Florida
FRED GRANDY, Iowa
DAVE CAMP, Michigan



(II)



CONTENTS



Page

Press release of Monday, October 29, 1993, announcing the hearing 2

WITNESSES

U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services, Hon. Doris M. Meissner,

Commissioner 8

Library of Congress, Joyce C. Vialet, Specialist in Immigration Policy,

Education and F*ublic Welfare division, Congressional Budget Office 39

Bean, Frank D., University of Texas at Austin 55

Brimelow, Peter, Forbes Magazine, New York, N.Y 114

California, State of. Health and Welfare Agency, Theresa A. Parker 29

Carrying Capacity Network; and Population Balance, Donald Huddle 120

Center for Immigration Studies, David Simcox 84

Cesar E. Chavez' United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO, Dolores

Huerta 154

Federation for Inmiigration Reform, Dan Stein 124

Lefcowitz, Marie J., Alexandria, Va 133

National Immigration Law Center, Los Angeles, Calif, Charles Wheeler 91

National Hispanic Council on Aging, Marta Sotomayor 145

Urban Institute, Michael Fix 67

SUBMISSIONS FOR THE RECORD

Asociacion Nacional Pro Personas Mayores (National Association for Hispanic

Elderly), Carmela G. Lacayo, statement 173

National Conference of State Legislatures, Hon. Art Torres, a State Senator

from the State of California, letter and attachment 178

United States Catholic Conference, Office of Migration and Refugee Services,

Rev. Richard Ryscavage, statement and attachments 181

(HI)



IMPACT OF IMMIGRATION ON WELFARE
PROGRAMS



MONDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 1993

House of Representatives,
Committee on Ways and Means,
Subcommittee on Human Resources,

Washington, D.C.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 1 p.m., in room
B-318, Raybum House Office Building, Hon. Harold E. Ford (chair-
man of the subcommittee) presiding.

[The press release announcing the hearing follows:]

(1)



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE PRESS RELEASE #11

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 19 9 3 SUBCOMMITTEE ON HITMAN RESOURCES

COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
1102 LONGWORTH HOUSE OFFICE BLDG.
WASHINGTON, D.C. 2 0515
TELEPHONE: (202) 225-1721

THE HONORABLE HAROLD E. FORD (D. , TENN.),

CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON HUMAN RESOURCES,

COMMITTEE ON HAYS AND MEANS, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

ANNOUNCES A HEARING ON

THE IMPACT OF IMMIGRATION ON WELFARE PROGRAMS

The Honorable Harold E. Ford (D., Tenn.), Chairman, Subcommittee
on Human Resources, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of
Representatives, today announced that the Subcommittee will hold a
hearing to examine the impact of immigration on welfare programs.
The hearing will be held on Monday, November 15, 1993, beginning at
1:00 p.m. in room B-318 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
Testimony will be received from invited and public witnesses.

In announcing the hearing, Congressman Ford said: "Given the
recent trends in unemployment, wages, poverty, and welfare caseloads,
the impact of immigration on our economy and welfare programs is an
issue we must address. This hearing will focus on the facts, not the
* immigrant bashing' some might fear. Any new policies the
Subcommittee might consider in this area should be guided by these
facts, not the political emotions of the times."

Some of the questions in which the Subcommittee is interested
are: How many foreign-born persons reside in the United States?
From what countries did they come and in which States do they live?
What are the historical trends in immigration? What changes have
been made to immigration law and policy? Have these changes affected
the number and composition of immigration? What are the impacts of
immigration on the economy and on native-born, low-skilled workers?
What are the eligibility requirements of welfare programs for
immigrants? What are the impacts of immigrants on welfare programs?
Do immigrants pay more in taxes than they consume in benefits and
services? What are the fiscal impacts on Federal, State, and local
governments? Are State and local governments hit by greater costs
than the Federal Government? What do these facts imply for Federal
welfare policies? Should non-citizens receive welfare? If yes,
under what conditions?

DETAILS FOR SUBMISSION OF REQUESTS TO BE HEARD:

Individuals and organizations interested in presenting oral
testimony before the Subcommittee must submit their requests to be
heard by telephone to Harriett Lawler, Diane Kirkland, or
Karen Ponzurick [(202) 225-1721] no later than close of business
Tuesday, November 9, 1993, to be followed by a formal written request
to Janice Mays, Chief Counsel and Staff Director, Committee on Ways
and Means, U.S. House of Representatives, 1102 Longworth House Office
Building, Washington, D.C. 20515. The Subcommittee staff will notify
by telephone those scheduled to appear as soon as possible after the
filing deadline. Any questions concerning a scheduled appearance
should be directed to the Subcommittee on Human Resources
[(202) 225-1025].

Persons and organizations having a common position are
urged to make every effort to designate one spokesperson
to represent them in order for the Subcommittee to hear as
many points of view as possible. Time for oral presentations
will be strictly limited with the understanding that a more
detailed statement may be included in the printed record of
the hearing. (See formatting requirements below.) This process
will afford more time for Members to question witnesses. In
addition, witnesses may be grouped as panelists with strict time
limitations for each panelist.

(MORE)



In order to assure the most productive use of the limited
amount of time available to question hearing witnesses, all
witnesses scheduled to appear before the Subcommittee are required to
submit 200 copies of their prepared statements to the Subcommittee on
Human Resources office, room B-317 Rayburn House Office Building, by
close of business Friday, November 12, 1993. Failure to comply with
this requirement may result in the witness being denied the
opportunity to testify in person.

WRITTEN STATEMENTS IN LIEU OF PERSONAL APPERRANCE :

Persons submitting written statements for the printed
record of the hearing should submit at least six (6) copies of their
statements by close of business, Friday, November 29, 1993, to Janice
Mays, Chief Counsel and Staff Director, Committee on Ways and Means,
U.S. House of Representatives, 1102 Longworth House Office Building,
Washington, D.C. 20515. If those filing written statements for the
record of the printed hearing wish to have their statements
distributed to the press and the interested public, they may provide
100 additional copies for this purpose to the Subcommittee office,
room B-317 of the Rayburn House Office Building, before the hearing
begins .

FORWATTING REQUIREMENTS :

Each etalement presenled tor priming 10 the Committee by witness, any written statement or exhibit
submitted tor the printed record or any written comments in response 10 a request tor written comments must
contorm to the guidelines listed below Any statement or exhibit not in compliance with these guidelines will not
be printed, but will be maintained in the Committee tiles tor review and use by the Committee

1 AM statements and any accompanying exhibits tor printing must be typed in single space on



legal-Size paper and may not exceed a lolal of 10 pages






Copies of whole documents submitted as exhibit material wi


ill not be accepted for printing


Insi


exhibit mBlenal should be referenced and quoted or psrophn


ssed All exhibit material not n


leeti


thes specifications will be maintained in the Committee tiles


for review and use by the Con





Statements must contain the name and capacity m which the witness will appear or. for written
comments, the name and capacity of the person •ubmitting the statement, as wall as any clients or
persons, or any organization for whom the witness appears or for whom 1h« statement is submitted

A supplemental sheet must accompany each statement listing the name, full address, a telephone
number where the wnness or the designated representative may be reached and a topical outline or
summary of The comments and recommendations in the full statement This supplemental sheet will
not be included in the printed record



ibove restrictions and hmitaiions apply only to material being submitted for printing Stj
supplementary material submitted solely for distribution to the Members, the press anc
• of a public hearing may be submitted in other forms



Chairman FoRD. The Human Resources Subcommittee of the
Ways and Means Committee will £ome to order.

Today, the Subcommittee on Human Resources holds a hearing
on the impact of immigration on welfare programs. We will hear
from immigration experts and advocates as they provide testimony
on immigration trends, laws and policies. In addition to back-
ground information, testimony will also be received on the impact
current immigration trends have on the economy, levels of govern-
ment, and welfare programs.

Over one million immigrants enter the United States each year.
In the past 10 years, nine million legal immigrants came to the
United States, the highest number in any 10-year period since
1910. Current law stresses family unification, thus allowing indi-
viduals who immigrate to this country to sponsor their parents,
spouses, and sons and daughters to come to the United States too.
The number of relatives of recent immigrants awaiting immigra-
tion to the United States now approaches four million people.

In addition to legal immigrants, more than 100,000 asylum seek-
ers are permitted to remain in the United States each year and it
is also expected that over 121,000 refugees will be panted entrance
in the fiscal year 1994. No one, however, can estimate accurately
how many illegal immigrants have come to the United States, but
current official estimates run at 300,000 undocumented aliens per
year.

Moreover, it is estimated that nearly five million illegal immi-
grants have entered the United States in the past 10 vears.

Recent polls show that a majority of Americans mvor reducing
the number of legal immigrants coming to the United States, de-
spite a firm belief that immigrants are hardworking and basically
good, honest people. With unemployment high and welfare case-
loads growing, polls also indicate that a majority of Americans be-
lieve that immigrants take jobs fi-om Americans. We hope that our
witnesses will also comment on these issues today as they testify
before this subcommittee.

President Clinton has proposed measures to tighten the screen-
ing of immigrants and strengthen the border patrol. Yet, there
seems to be a growing sentiment to restrict immigration even more.
One bill would restrict annual immigration to 300,000 persons per
year, and that number would include immediate relatives.

Clearly, this is an emotionally-charged issue. Individuals on one
side of the issue blame immigrants for many of our domestic prob-
lems, including unemployment as well as poverty. Those on the
other side charge racism or immigrant bashing.

We will not allow emotions to run high and to guide the hearing
this afternoon. Instead, let us listen to the facts and filter out the
fiction. We will think clearly about this issue and arrive at policies
that are fair and equitable for everyone.

I appreciate the response to this subcommittee's call for testi-
mony, and I look forward to a wide range of testimony from the
witnesses.

We have had staff evaluate the testimony that has been submit-
ted by members of the different panels today. Testimony has not
been submitted from one witness who requested to testify todav.
The American Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO, has not sub-



mitted testimony, nor the copies of the testimony to the subcommit-
tee. If you have the testimony now, please give it to the staff.

We also are privileged today to nave the Office of U.S. Immigra-
tion and Naturalization Service with us. Ms. Doris Meissner, who
is the Commissioner, will be testifying before the subcommittee. I
will ask you to take a seat at the witness table.

I also will recognize Mr. Grandy of the subcommittee, who is rep-
resenting the ranking minority member of the subcommittee.

Mr. Grandy. Thank you, Mr. ChaiiTnan. I would like to make a
statement before we begin the hearing today.

First of all, on behalf of the minority, let me compliment you for
holding these hearings on immigration and obviously welfare, be-
cause that is the purview of this subcommittee. And I would hope
that the subcommittee today will search for the answers to four
questions:

The first is how much the Nation's taxpayers now spend on wel-
fare for immigrants. We have a preliminary estimate from CBO
showing how much we spend on welfare for noncitizens in the
AFDC, food stamps, Medicaid and supplemental security income
programs. In tables that will be passed out, these estimates show
that between 1996 and 1998, we expect to spend nearly $19 billion,
more than $6 billion a year, on welfare for noncitizens in just these
four programs alone. This CBO estimate also shows that the
amount we spend increases by more than $V2 billion a year.

[Table 1 follows:]

Eliminate Benefits to Most Noncitizens in SSI, Medicaid, Food Stamps, and
AFDC — Federal outlays by fiscal year

[in billions of dollars]

1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 ""'^^^

Supplemental Security Income 0.0 -1.2 -2.5 -2.7 -3.0 -9.4

Medicaid 0.0 -0.9 -2.1 -2.4 -2.7 -8.1

Food Stamps 0.0 -0.4 -0.8 -0.8 -0.8 -2.8

Aid to Families with Depend-
ent Children 0.0 -0.1 -0.3 -0.3 -0.3 -1.0

Total 0.0 -2.5 -5.7 -6.2 -6.8 -21.3

Note: This preliminary estimate has not been reviewed by the Director of the Congressional Budget
Office. This estimate is subject to change.

Key Assumptions:

Proposal would be enacted April 1, 1994; States would deny benefits effective April 1, 1995.

States would continue to provide benefits to a) refugees, b) former refugees whose status has been
adjusted to "lawfully admitted for permanent residence" (lAPR). Eligibilitif for this group would be
limited to 6 years after the adjustment to LAPR status; 4 years if LAPR status is the result of marriage
to a U.S. citizen, and c) noncitizens who are lawfully admitted as permanent residents or permanent
residents under color of law (PRUCOL) who are at least 75 years old and who have been lawfully
admitted under such statuses for at least 5 years.

States would continue to provide emergency Medicaid services to all noncitizens.

States would deny benefits to all other noncitizens including a) most permanent resident aliens (that
is, green card holders), b) parolees, c) asylees, d) other permanent residents under color of law, e)
Mexican citizens with border cards, f) illegal aliens, and g) students with visas.

The second table, Mr. Chairman, shows that we have about
900,000 noncitizens in our Medicaid and food stamp programs, over



6 .

v

500,000 on supplemental security income, and over 400,000 on
AFDC. Now, these figures do not include illegal immigration, emer-
gency medical services, citizen children with parents who are ille-
gal residents, or spending on dozens of other welfare programs. Ob-
viously, they do not include State spending either.
[Table 2 follows:]

Eliminate Benefits to Certain Noncitizens in SSI, Medicaid, Food Stamps,

and AFDC

[fiscal year 1995, effective April 1, 1995]

Estimated number of individuals
affected in average month

Supplemental Security Income 520,000

Medicaid 950,000

Food Stamps 900,000

Aid to Families with Dependent Children 420,000

Total Not Available

Notes: This preliminary estimate has not been reviewed by the Director of the Congressional Budget
Office. This estimate is subject to change.

These figures cannot be added to get a total number of individuals affected by this provision. Many
individuals participate in more than one of these programs, so adding the separate program estimates
would result in double counting.

Key Assumptions:

Proposal would be enacted April 1, 1994; States would deny benefits effective April 1, 1995.

States would continue to provide benefits to a) refugees, b) former refugees whose status has been
adjusted to "lawfully admitted for permanent residence" (LAPR). Eligibility for this group would be
limited to 6 years after the adjustment to LAPR status; 4 years if LAPR status is the result of marriage
to a U.S. citizen, and c) noncitizens who are lawfully admitted as permanent residents or permanent
residents under color of law (PRUCOL) who are at least 75 years old and who have been lawfully
admitted under such statuses for at least 5 years.

States would continue to provide emergency Medicaid services to all noncitizens.

States would deny benefits to all other noncitizens including a) most permanent resident aliens (that
is, green card holders), b) parolees, c) asylees, d) other permanent residents under color of law, e)
Mexican citizens with border cards, f) illegal aliens, and g) students with visas.

I would guess that between Federal, State and local govern-
ments, our Nation is now spending a minimum of $8 billion a year
on welfare for noncitizens. To my knowledge, neither the Ways and
Means Committee nor the Finance Committee has ever debated, let
alone had a vote on, whether this welfare spending is good policy.

The public should understand that this committee and Congress
makes welfare policy on immigrants by default. I hope that one of
the things this hearing will bring out is the beginning of a more
responsible policymaking attitude, first by this committee and then
by Congress as a whole.

I think the second task before us is to determine how America
selects immigrants. This is a fundamental question if we are to
learn how immigration affects the Nation's welfare program. The
education and work skills of immigrants are the most important
factors in determining whether they become productive, taxpaying
citizens or wards of the State. Several of today's witnesses will dis-
cuss the preference for relatives in our current immigration policy.
I believe they will agree that more immigrants are admitted to the
United States because they are a relative of someone who already



resides here than for any other single reason. Potential contribu-
tion to the American economy then tekes at this point second place
to being a relative.

The subcommittee needs to find out whether admitting people
because they are relatives increases the probability that they will
wind up on public assistance, and if so, we should make it clear
to Congress and the Nation that the most fundamental basis of our
current immigration laws guarantees that we will pay billions per
year in welfare benefits for noncitizens.

The subcommittee's third objective, I think, should be to deter-
mine what would happen if we simply ended welfare for
noncitizens. The CBO estimates that by 1998, we would save at
least $6.8 billion, $3.3 billion of this amount in programs under the
jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Committee; States would also
save billions.

But what would be the cost? Besides saving lots of money, there
is an even better reason for this subcommittee to consider ending
welfare for noncitizens. Why would any Nation open its welfare
rolls to noncitizens, thereby allowing public benefits paid for bv
productive citizens to serve as a magnet attracting people from all
over the world?

Being attracted to America for opportunity is one thing; being at-
tracted by the promise of welfare is another, especially to potential
immigrants from countries in which living conditions are typically
much worse than living conditions of welfare recipients in .^anerica.
At the very least, we should require that immigrants become citi-
zens before giving them welfare benefits.

I know there are people, many of them who are probably in this
hearing room today, who will immediately label as insensitive or
cruel or racist anyone who suggests that we limit or eliminate wel-
fare for noncitizens. I think it is important to clarify why we are
making this proposal.

I am a strong supporter of immigration, but I do not understand
why we would oring people to this country, pull them in, let them

fo on welfare, many of them for the rest of their lives. But I ac-
nowledge that I may be wrong on this issue.

It is significant, I think, Mr. Chairman, that this hearing is tak-
ing place just before the critical debate on the North American
free-trade agreement, which is de facto an immigration issue, at
least perceived as such, and I would urge the witnesses to tell the
members of this subcommittee why we should continue to spend
billions of dollars every year on people who come to our Nation vol-
untarily and then become enrolled in our welfare programs perma-
nently.

A fourth question, finally, is whether immigrants compete for
jobs with American citizens, and, Mr. Chairman, you referenced
this in your opening remarks, whether they depress wages. A re-
cent study by prominent economists at the National Bureau of Eco-
nomic Research, one of whom is now an Assistant Secretary at the
Department of Labor, concluded that immigration flows have con-
tributed substantially to the poor labor market performance of the
less educated American workers during the 1980s.

This subcommittee will be deeply involved in welfare reform, and
if immigrants now compete witn low-wage American workers for



8

jobs, and if they depress wages, it will be more difficult for mothers
to leave welfare for work.

Worse, even those mothers who take the difficult step of leaving
welfare for work will have lower wages. This is an issue obviously
that the subcommittee has vital interest in.

So, Mr. Chairman, I applaud you; you were wise to conduct this
hearing, to begin this process, and I hope all of us will be just as
wise when we consider the evidence on immigration in welfare pre-
sented by today's witnesses.

I thank the Chair.


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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on WaysImpact of immigration on welfare programs : hearing before the Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, first session, November 15, 1993 → online text (page 1 of 21)