The Heavy Weight of Illegal Aliens on the Social Safety Net

It is often said that illegal aliens are here to work in jobs Americans do not want. In a booming economy, when there are more jobs than willing workers, this may be true. Unfortunately, when there is an economic downturn, illegal aliens add an unbearable weight to the social safety net.Illegal aliens who are still working continue to do so, taking jobs that many Americans who previously refused to fill them would not be willing to take. The unemployment drop in Alabama by nearly two percentage points after it implemented the strictest illegal immigration enforcement standards in the nation are a sign of this. When illegal aliens no longer hold those jobs, Americans take them. When illegal immigrants continue to hold jobs during a period of high unemployment, they leave many Americans dangling in the social safety net, collecting unemployment because they cannot find jobs or filing for disability benefits or early retirement to keep money coming in.Because illegal immigrants rarely pay taxes except sales taxes, they are using social services such as public schools for their children without contributing equally to the cost.

This increases the load on remaining tax payers though the average tax payer has less money to pay.Illegal aliens are not eligible for most social benefits. However, their American born children are eligible for those benefits. From WIC to SNAP (food stamps) to free school lunches, their children do receive food benefits from the government, at the expense of all tax payers. The adults do not starve while their children eat. This is why food banks continue to do brisk business even as food stamp usage soars – illegal aliens rely upon charitable sources even when they do not qualify for other federal benefits. Illegal aliens tend not to pay for health care. The adults tend to use charitable care or enter information that means they cannot be billed for the care they receive. Their American born children receive Medicaid or CHIP benefits. In an affluent society, this is a hidden tax to offset the publicly low cost of their services. In a poorer society, illegal immigrants use up the increasingly scarce charitable funds for medical care paid for by citizens and intended for citizens. The New York Times did an article January 2012 illustrating the number of patients stuck in government health care networks because they do not have a formal address or housing. Because they do not have insurance, they cannot be sent to a nursing home or rehabilitation facility. Because they do not have a permanent address in the United States or what is considered appropriate housing by the state of New York, they cannot be discharged. The result is hundreds of patients filing hospital beds and services that cannot be deployed to those who pay hospital taxes or higher insurance bills to cover the long term care of illegal immigrants.