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Hot Topic (6/13): Benefits for children of illegal immigrants

Posted by on Jun. 13, 2009 at 12:06 AM
  • 144 Replies

All Things Considered, April 15, 2009 · Children living in immigrant families are more likely to be poor than those whose parents were born in the U.S. But these same children are far less likely to receive public benefits — even though most of them were born in the U.S. and are citizens. This has some people worried about the welfare of one of the nation's fastest growing groups — the citizen children of immigrants.

Adriana, who did not give her full name because she is in the country illegally, recently came looking for help at CASA de Maryland, a nonprofit agency outside Washington, D.C., that assists immigrants. At the time, Adriana, 21, was a few days away from giving birth to her third child. She already had two little boys, ages 1 and 3, and their father had left them months before. And she was homeless.

Adriana and her children had been sleeping in the streets, but the night before, strangers took them in after seeing them out in the near-freezing cold. As Adriana spoke, her youngest son ran around the room, swinging his bottle. He wore one-piece pajamas over a turtleneck shirt. She looked tired and worn.

"She says, 'Today I really need somebody to help me out because the family who helped me yesterday — they can no longer help me, and I have no place where to sleep with my kids tonight,' " said intake specialist Elizabeth Flores, who translated Adriana's Spanish.

Flores said the young woman tried to get housing, food stamps and medical help at local social service agencies. But without a passport, proof of residency or birth certificate for one of her sons, she was having little luck.

"She's living nowhere, so basically she has no address," Flores said. "So they told her she cannot apply."

A Complicated Case

Adriana's case is complicated by the fact that she's an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. Her children were born in the U.S., but like many citizen children of immigrants, they don't receive the public assistance for which they're eligible.

There are many reasons for this. Some, like Adriana, don't have the necessary paperwork or are confused by the requirements because they don't speak English. Flores says many immigrants in the country illegally also worry about contacting any government agency, even if it's to help their children.

"They don't feel comfortable going there," she said. "They are afraid because they have no documents."

That is a common problem, said Jonathan Blazer, a public benefits policy attorney with the National Immigration Law Center. Blazer said undocumented immigrants are not supposed to be reported to immigration authorities when they apply for benefits for their citizen children. In fact, the Agriculture Department, which administers the food stamp program, basically makes that point in its brochures.

* * *

What do you think about the children of illegal immigrants receiving benefits in the United States?

Did you realize that "undocumented immigrants" are not supposed to be reported to immigration authorities when they apply for benefits for their citizen children?

Your reaction?

 





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by on Jun. 13, 2009 at 12:06 AM
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Replies (1-10):
stormcris
by Christy on Jun. 13, 2009 at 12:24 AM

As unpopular as this statement might be....They should get benifits. The reason is we as a country support all these other children around the world with money and aid but yet children right here in our own country cannot get food or shelter. This for me goes so far beyond immigration to what is right. It is not right for a child to starve no matter what their situation may be. It is also not right that a great percentage of the homeless are children for whatever reason. All the children no matter what their situation should be able to receive food and shelter with or with out their parents. That goes for runaways, immigrants, ect ect ect.

cowgirlsr2
by Silver Member on Jun. 13, 2009 at 12:50 AM

I do not want to here or see any child do without but my ? is why doesn't she go back to Mexico to her family for help it's alot better than what she is putting her kids thru. When your a mother you do what you have to whether you like it or not!!! Benefits for immigrants limited time.


mmtosam06
by Bronze Member on Jun. 13, 2009 at 8:11 AM

Ditto

Quoting cowgirlsr2:

I do not want to here or see any child do without but my ? is why doesn't she go back to Mexico to her family for help it's alot better than what she is putting her kids thru. When your a mother you do what you have to whether you like it or not!!! Benefits for immigrants limited time.


Stephanie a non vaxxing/cloth diapering/full term breastfeeding sahm who is wanting another but waiting/WoW addicted momma to a 2yr old princess
Dylansmom32509
by on Jun. 13, 2009 at 8:12 AM

The children should get benefits.As a mother i cant fathom anyone denying help to a child no matter how their parents came here. They are children brought here by their parents they shouldnt be ill because their parents didnt come her legally.

dereksmommy1227
by on Jun. 13, 2009 at 9:46 AM

I think a lot of people are under the impression that if they come here from Mexico to give birth to their children that they are entitled to benifits. This isn't the case. I don't agree with illegals coming here to birth their children. I think that in this woman's case since she has absolutly NOTHING that the US should at least help the children because they are citizens. They should help this woman at least find housing until she can get on her feet and take her children back to mexico. 

My Body My Choice

jzsgrandma
by Bronze Member on Jun. 13, 2009 at 10:36 AM

  This problem will only get worse as thousands of illegals cross the boarders every day. They do not just come from Mexico, they come from all over Latin America. The Latinos that do make it from South America literally risk their lives going through Mexico. Their standard of living is so poor that it is a chance they are willing to take. They are coming for a better life and most are finding it. Living 8 ppl to a 2 bed room 1 bath with running water up is a giant step up from the hand made shelter built of couragated metal and dirt floor. ( My horse lives in a better house)  What is a struggle is the idea that my son and daughter pay dearly for health care for my grandchildren and live a VERY modest life to afford it. The health care cost has gone up while the coverage has gone down. We have made little to no effort to enforce legal immigration and we will now pay for it.    

sheenashina1964
by Member on Jun. 13, 2009 at 12:33 PM

I live in Calif. and illegal aliens are a huge problem, it's a huge comtributing fact to our financial problems.  This family made the mistake of asking the government for help. They should knock on the door of a church and ask for help.  No the government should deport illegals and having a achor child to stay should not matter.  My father came here legally and didn't cut in line, he learned english and worked 3 jobs.  California wants to cut money to prisons, schools when the anwser is getting control of our borders.  Did anyone see the tunnel they found in AZ? You can drive through some cities in LA and never see a sign in english. 


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behappilyever
by Bronze Member on Jun. 13, 2009 at 12:49 PM

"Blazer said undocumented immigrants are not supposed to be reported to immigration authorities when they apply for benefits for their citizen children. In fact, the Agriculture Department, which administers the food stamp program, basically makes that point in its brochures. "

hmmm... that right there is sickening to me. i understand that the benefits are to go to the children, but there is just something wrong with the program ENCOURAGING illegal immigrants. this statement says to me "hey, come over here illegally and we will foot the bill for you." ..... who does that? what other country is SO open to people breaking the law??? if it is the children are the issue then address THAT issue. don't encourage the problem.

i think any american citizen should be entitled to benefits if they qualify. under our current governing laws, these children ARE citizens. their parents are not. help the children. don't encourage the parents to continue to add to the problem.

yiayiaann
by on Jun. 13, 2009 at 12:59 PM

WELL MY HEART DOES GO OUT TO THESE PEOPLE BUT IF YOU HELP ONE, YOU TEND TO HELP OTHERS. IF MEXICO IMPLODES, YOU WILL SEE A FLOOD OF INNOCENT PEOPLE COMING ACROSS THAT BORDER DEMANDING HELP..WELL OUR PEOPLE ARE ASKING HELP NOW ..IT SHOULD BE US DEMANDING AND THOSE ILLEGALS ASKING...I CAN STILL SEE THEM PROTESTING IN OUR STREETS WITH THE MEXICAN FLAGS WAVING WITH DEMANDS..I DO FEEL SORRY  FOR THE INNOCENT KIDS, BUT......patriotic


eaglemama2
by Silver Member on Jun. 13, 2009 at 1:08 PM

clappingI am an imigrant too, but I did it all by the book, why can't they?

Quoting behappilyever:

"Blazer said undocumented immigrants are not supposed to be reported to immigration authorities when they apply for benefits for their citizen children. In fact, the Agriculture Department, which administers the food stamp program, basically makes that point in its brochures. "

hmmm... that right there is sickening to me. i understand that the benefits are to go to the children, but there is just something wrong with the program ENCOURAGING illegal immigrants. this statement says to me "hey, come over here illegally and we will foot the bill for you." ..... who does that? what other country is SO open to people breaking the law??? if it is the children are the issue then address THAT issue. don't encourage the problem.

i think any american citizen should be entitled to benefits if they qualify. under our current governing laws, these children ARE citizens. their parents are not. help the children. don't encourage the parents to continue to add to the problem.



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