Illegal immigrant households received almost $1.3 billion in Los Angeles County welfare money during 2015 and 2016, almost one-quarter of the sum spent on the countys entire destitute inhabitants, according to data obtained by Fox News.
The data was obtained from the county Department of Public Social Services — which is responsible for doling out the benefits — and gives a snapshot of the financial costs associated with refuge and policies.
The refuge county of Los Angeles is an illegal immigration epicenter, with the biggest concentration of any county in the country, according to a study in the Migration Policy Institute. The county also allows illegal immigrant parents with children born in the United States to seek welfare and food stamp benefits.
Robert Rector, a Heritage Foundation senior fellow who has written studies on poverty and illegal immigration, said the prices represent the tip of the iceberg.
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They get $3 in benefits for every $1 they spend, Rector said.
The Trump presidencys hardline immigration policies may be playing some role in curtailing the population seeking welfare payments lately.
The very same stats show Los Angeles County is expected to dole out $200 million this year than in 2016, and families are collecting benefits.
The number of entrants nationally is going down. The population is static if not decreasing, Rector said.
The welfare benefit data from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services reveals:
- More than 58,000 families received a total of $602 million in gains in 2015.
- More than 64,000 families received a total of $675 million in 2016.
- During the first five months of 2017, more than 60,000 families received a total of $181 million.
- Welfare and food stamp costs for the countys entire population were $3.1 billion in 2015, $2.9 billion in 2016 and $1.5 billion so far in 2017.
A quarter of Californias 4 million illegal immigrants live in Los Angeles County.
In 2013, California spent a total of $25.3 billion on illegal immigrants or $2,370 per U.S. taxpayer home, according to a 2013 study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Texas and New York were second and third, at $12.1 billion and $9.5 billion, respectively.
Former state Republican Party Chairman Shawn Steel blasted Los Angeles policies but credited Immigration and Customs Enforcement with stepping up deportations.
The awesome thing is that everyone was anticipating a huge wall to stop [illegal immigration] , he said. The decrease was enhanced by ICE agents just doing their job.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, a proponent of the sanctuary status, is a driving factor behind expanding benefits. He founded the Office of Immigrant Affairs shortly after taking office in 2013 to assist immigrants navigate the maze of government benefits.
Immigration is at the center of LAs story, he said in a statement. LAs invest in our future where they came from or what language they speak and continue and become one of the great cities by adopting diversity and immigration.
Tori Richards is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.
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