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    Legalizing undocumented immigrants increases the “welfare state”


    Immigrants can’t receive support from major federal benefits programs for five years

    Immigrants are currently barred from receiving support from a major federal benefits program for five years, and recent proposals would maintain that standard. The National Immigration Law Center says:

    The major public benefits programs have always prevented some noncitizens from securing assistance. Since the inception of programs such as food stamps (now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP), nonemergency Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and its precursor, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), undocumented immigrants and persons in the United States on temporary visas have been ineligible for assistance. However, the 1996 federal welfare and immigration laws introduced an unprecedented new era of restrictionism. Prior to the enactment of these laws, lawful permanent residents of the U.S. generally were eligible for assistance in a similar manner as U.S. citizens. Thereafter, most lawfully residing immigrants were barred from receiving assistance under one of the major federal benefits programs for five years or longer.

    A framework for immigration reform released by a bipartisan group of senators in January 2013 says, "Current restrictions preventing non-immigrants from accessing federal public benefits will also apply to lawful probationary immigrants."