Welfare and immigration: a contradiction in terms

Karl Denninger points out the fundamental incompatibility between immigration and a welfare state.

Fundamentally-incompatible things can be serious trouble.

Put gasoline in your diesel-fueled vehicle and see what happens.  Or the converse.

Drink a bunch and then go operate some sort of machinery.  The outcome is likely to be very bad.

Welfare in general — where you are given a right to take from someone else by force something you want but have not earned — is incompatible with a lot of things.

One of the things it’s incompatible with is an “open border”.

This is math, not politics.  America has ~330 million people.  There are somewhere north of 7 billion people on this planet, most of them with standards of living that are below our poverty line.

If you have an open border and welfare it is only logical that all of them will want to come here.

It is mathematically certain that combining those two things will collapse the economy, asset markets and the government, leading to outright Civil War.

. . .

America long allowed virtually anyone to come through a regular border crossing (not simply walking in) and declaring that they wished to be American.  But being American meant taking the risk of the bad with the potential for the good.  There was no welfare, no Social Security, no disability, no Medicare or Medicaid.  There was no Section 8, nor “EBT”.

In short you were free to come, and if you were of good character and demonstrated it by staying out of trouble you could stay, and eventually become a citizen.  But you never had a claim on anything that belonged to anyone else; you could only obtain any of it through voluntary exchange, and the other party both could and often did say “No.”

Then we decided, mostly during the time of FDR and since, that being in the country conferred upon you the right to steal from others.

There’s more at the link, and it’s worth reading in full.

That explains the surge of illegal aliens in a nutshell.  Here, in the USA, they can claim all sorts of welfare payments from the US social “safety net”.  They get something for nothing, just by being here.  If those rewards weren’t there, there’d be little or no incentive for them to come here.  Sure, there are some illegal aliens who come here expecting – wanting – to work for a living;  but I think the evidence of the past couple of decades shows that the majority are here for what they can get out of the country, not what they can put into it.  Don’t believe that?  Try these sources for a start:

I’m an immigrant myself – a legal one – so I understand the struggle to adjust to a new country and make a living:  yet, I’ve done that.  I’ve never used even one of the welfare programs typically used by illegal aliens and/or US citizens.  God willing, I don’t expect to do so except in absolute, unavoidable emergency.  I came here expecting to have to provide for myself, and, thanks be to God, I’ve done so.  I cannot for the life of me understand how anyone with even a shred of pride in themselves could come here expecting – hoping! – to leech off the American taxpayer for the rest of their lives!

I think there’s an obvious and very simple solution.  Make legal immigrants ineligible for welfare benefits for a minimum of five years after their arrival;  and make illegal aliens permanently ineligible for any state benefits at all.  I think that would have a drastic effect on the immigration situation, to the permanent advantage of these United States.



  1. My wife is a legal immigrant too. When bringing her here I had to sign an affidavit to promise that she would not become a public burden.

    I think of the time we spent apart as we did the paperwork the RIGHT WAY, and the legal fees I incurred.

    Should have had her learn some Spanish, come to the border, and the Leftists would be falling all over themselves to help her get in and get citizenship. (Too bad for them – as a former resident of the USSR, she knows what Communism actually is.)

  2. I would draw the line at education and maybe all programs for children. Children of immigrants should get the same public education opportunities as everyone else. We want them to learn to be good citizens and learn American exceptionalism. Of course, that means would have to tech that to all our students again. sigh

  3. we have politicized immigration to the nth degree in this country…walls, borders, enforcement….this is all simple, simple stuff but we've made it a gordian knot of politics. if we were to look at this at a different angle, the means of "fixing" the issue is apparent.

    look at it solely through the prism of animal behavior.

    we have a garden here in new england. we put a fence around the garden but nevertheless, those crafty dear still manage to get in there sometimes.

    we also have bird feeders…and we take those feeders inside in the fall and spring because if you have them out, you WILL get a bear in the backyard munching on your bird feed.

    so we try to control access to resources by 2 different means…for the stationary garden we use a fence and it's only mostly successful and for the bird seed, we remove the resource entirely and that has proven entirely successful.

    so in removing the resource we're eliminating unwanted animal behavior.

    do the same thing with immigration. Not a citizen? can't work here. rigorously enforce the e-verify and i9 systems in place for businesses – violations are $50k a pop. remove all safety net $ for non citizens. stop requiring hospitals to deal with anyone who shows up in their emergency rooms.

    remove a resource and an animal will respond. people are no different.

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