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Immigrants and Public Benefits

By January 10, 2009

The purpose of public benefits is to help people help themselves by providing temporary assistance during hard times. Immigrants, in addition to U.S. citizens, are eligible for certain federal, state and local public benefits without immigration consequences. Many immigrants shy away from any type of public assistance thinking they will risk their immigration status if they seek help. There is good cause for concern: An immigrant may be inadmissible to the U.S., ineligible to become a legal permanent resident, and in some (rare) cases, deported if they have been determined to be a "public charge," or someone who requires income assistance or long-term institutionalized care. However, immigrants are eligible to receive certain health care benefits, take part in food programs and participate in other non-cash programs.

If you've fallen on hard times, you're not alone. There are many types of assistance for eligible immigrants. Learn more about immigrants and public benefits to understand what USCIS says about receiving public benefits.


January 13, 2009 at 2:11 pm
(1) Carol says:

I donot think any Illegal Immigrant sahould get help from our Government. That is one of the reasons that this Country is in Dire Straits. These immigrants need to be sent back home , If, they donot become Citizens and pay into the system like we all do and, like our ForeFathers did they don’t deserve anything in return as far as help.

January 14, 2009 at 10:56 am
(2) Helen says:

She is refering to IMMIGRANTS not illegal citizens. Immigrants are in the country legally. They work and pay taxes like any American citizens.

January 28, 2009 at 5:25 pm
(3) Ron Talley says:

it i only humane to help people in need, immigrant or not. People don’t leave their home countries on a whim; the come here out of desperation, out of necessity. They are our brothers and sisters and equal in God’s eyes to us.

I’m really tired of hearing people talking of immigrants as though they are some big threat to our way of life. They, in fact, do work that US citizens refuse to do unless they are trying to work their way through college or are taking their first jobs.

February 4, 2010 at 10:38 am
(4) Jo says:

That’s a nice, blue-skies-and-fluffy-clouds worldview you have, Ron. Let me guess, you don’t live ANYWHERE near the border, do you? How do you propose we PAY for your optimistic plan?, with hugs? Our hospitals down on the border are in danger of closing because, by law, we have to treat people who have no means to pay. You thing Mexico is going to reimburse us? Do yourself a favor and take a trip down to the border. See what these people are doing to the desert and the surrounding communities. Help an environmental group clean up the mountains of trash, clothing, discarded water containers, not to mention the piles of feces everywhere. Go have a wait at the emergency room with a sick child and wonder how you’re going to pay for this while you have the joy of knowing that the illegals waiting with you won’t have to pay anything.
America is a country of immigrants. LEGAL immigrants. These people’s first act on American soil is to break the law, is that who you want for your neighbor?
It’s easy to wax philosohic about a problem when it’s not in your backyard.

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