Group Assails Abuse of Entitlement Programs by Immigrants – 2/96

As evidence mounts that increasing numbers of immigrants are dependent on government entitlement programs, members of the African-American leadership group Project 21 are supporting curbs and cuts in programs that they believe are rife with fraud and abuse.

Project 21 member and California businessman Al Wilson states, “There should be legislation that requires the repatriation of immigrants and refugees if their sponsor fails to uphold their obligations to support them. Congressional testimony has raised the spectre that ever-increasing dependency of immigrants could lead to the crowding out of other eligible people.”

The example of Orange County, California serves as a case in point. Angelo Doti, Director of Financial Assistance at the Department of Social Services Agency in Orange County, California, an agency which serves 2.6 million county residents, testified on February 6 before the U.S. Senate subcommittee on Immigration. Doti reported that in Orange County “refugees (both time-eligible and time-expired) mak[e] up significant amounts of each welfare program caseload…” Mr. Doti also cited the following statistics and case situations for Orange County:

  • 28% of the persons on Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) are immigrants/refugees (excluding children born of undocumented parents and Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) cases).
  • 94% of refugees apply for RCA within the first two months of entry into the country.
  • 40% of AFDC eligible refugees remain on aid five years or longer.
  • 68% of the general [state] relief caseload are non-citizens. Of these: 31% are sponsored aliens in the country less than five years. 82% of the sponsored aliens are 65 years or older.
  • Son sponsored both parents. He required his parents to pay $350 per month for rent and utilities. The son earns $87,772 annually and his wife earns $35,356. The son agreed to contribute $50 per month to his parents.
  • Sister sponsored her sister, the husband remained in Vietnam. After the immigrating sister received aid for approximately two years, it was discovered that the sponsor sister owns a restaurant and night club and the immigrating sister receiving public aid works there every day. No income or resources had ever been reported. An article in the local newspaper described the night club and the $800,000 that was invested to decorate the club.
  • Son sponsored both parents. The son was supporting both parents but his wife is now pregnant and doesn’t want him to support his parents any longer.

The Senate is expected to vote on an omnibus immigration proposal dealing with both legal and illegal immigration in the second or third week of March. The Senate Judiciary Committee started marking-up the bill, sponsored by Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY), on February 29. Opponents of the bill as it is currently written, led by Senator Spence Abraham (R-MI), many of whom are Republican, are attempting to split the legislation into two bills so the issues of illegal and legal immigration can be dealt with separately. Senator Abraham is also trying to delete provisions in the Simpson bill setting up a national identity card system. The increasing reliance on welfare by immigrants has been a driving force in the campaign to reform the nation’s immigration laws.

“Given the waste and abuse of the system, I think we should abolish these programs. Because, as the testimony has shown clearly, people are dumping their responsibilities on the American taxpayers. Immigrants and refugees should already be self-sufficient or have dependable sponsors before they are admitted into the country,” says Project 21 member Tony Clarke, also a member of the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform in Mar Vista, California.

Project 21 is an African-American leadership group dedicated to espousing conservative viewpoints often rejected by the nation’s civil rights leadership. For an interview, contact Michael Session or Arturo Silva.

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over 25 years, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Its members have been quoted, interviewed or published over 40,000 times since the program was created in 1992. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated, and may be earmarked exclusively for the use of Project 21.