Priority Populations

Immigrants and Welfare: The Impact of Welfare Reform on America’s Newcomers

The lore of the immigrant who comes to the United States to take advantage of our welfare system has a long history in America’s collective mythology, but it has little basis in fact. The so-called problem of immigrants on the dole was nonetheless a major concern of the 1996 welfare reform law, the impact of which is still playing out today. While legal immigrants continue to pay taxes and are eligible for the draft, welfare reform has severely limited their access to government supports in times of crisis. Edited by Michael Fix, Immigrants and Welfare rigorously assesses the welfare reform law, questions whether its immigrant provisions were ever really necessary, and examines its impact on legal immigrants’ ability to integrate into American society

Immigrants and Welfare draws on fields from demography and law to developmental psychology. The first part of the volume probes the politics behind the welfare reform law, its legal underpinnings, and what it may mean for integration policy.

The second part of the book focuses on empirical research regarding immigrants’ propensity to use benefits before the law passed, and immigrants’ use and hardship levels afterwards.