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Immigrants, Welfare Reform, and the U.S. Safety Net

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  • Marianne Bitler
  • Hilary W. Hoynes

Abstract

Beginning with the 1996 federal welfare reform law many of the central safety net programs in the U.S. eliminated eligibility for legal immigrants, who had been previously eligible on the same terms as citizens. These dramatic cutbacks affected eligibility not only for cash welfare assistance for families with children, but also for food stamps, Medicaid, SCHIP, and SSI. In this paper, we comprehensively examine the status of the U.S. safety net for immigrants and their family members. We document the policy changes that affected immigrant eligibility for these programs and use the CPS for 1995-2010 to analyze trends in program participation, income, and poverty among immigrants (and natives). We pay particular attention to the recent period and examine how immigrants and their children are faring in the “Great Recession” with an eye toward revealing how these policy changes have affected the success of the safety net in protecting this population.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17667.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Publication status: published as \Immigrants, Welfare Reform, and the U.S. Safety Net," joint with Hilary Hoynes. In Immigration, Poverty, and Socioeconomic Inequality, D. Card and S. Raphael, eds. New York: Russell Sage, 2013.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17667

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References

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  1. Caroline Ratcliffe & Signe-Mary McKernan & Sisi Zhang, 2011. "How Much Does the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reduce Food Insecurity?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1082-1098.
  2. George J. Borjas, 2003. "Welfare Reform, Labor Supply, and Health Insurance in the Immigrant Population," NBER Working Papers 9781, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Steven J. Haider & Robert F. Schoeni & Yuhua Bao & Caroline Danielson, 2004. "Immigrants, welfare reform, and the economy," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(4), pages 745-764.
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Cited by:
  1. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Averett, Susan L. & Bansak, Cynthia, 2014. "Welfare Reform and Immigrant Fertility," IZA Discussion Papers 8153, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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