[Background Material and Data on Programs within the Jurisdiction of the Committee on Ways and Means (Green Book)]
[Appendices]
[Appendix J. Noncitizens]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]


 
[1998 Green Book] APPENDIX J. NONCITIZENS

                                CONTENTS

Introduction
U.S. Immigration Policy and Trends
  Naturalization Requirements and Statistics
Alien Eligibility Prior to 1996 Welfare Reform
  Federal Law
  Prior State and Local Law
Use of Benefits by Noncitizens Under Prior Law
  Administrative Data
  U.S. Census Bureau Data
Reasons for Change in Alien Eligibility for Benefits
Alien Eligibility for Federal Assistance
  Program Bars
  Expanded Sponsor-to-Alien Deeming and Affidavits of Support
Alien Eligibility for State and Local Assistance
Verification of Status and Reporting Requirements
  Verification Requirements
  Reporting Requirements
Illegal Aliens and Benefits
  Statistical Background
  Eligibility Standards
References

                              INTRODUCTION

     The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity 
Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-193) changed almost 
every aspect of alien eligibility for Federal, State and local 
government assistance programs. It established comprehensive 
new restrictions on the eligibility of legal aliens for means-
tested public assistance, and also broadened restrictions on 
public benefits for illegal aliens and nonimmigrants (aliens 
temporarily here, e.g., to visit, attend school, or work). 
Subsequently in the 104th Congress, the provisions of the new 
welfare law were amended and supplemented by the Illegal 
Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, 
immigration enforcement legislation enacted as division C of 
the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997, and signed 
into law on September 30, 1996 (Public Law 104-208).
     The changes made in the alien eligibility rules proved 
controversial, particularly the termination of benefits for 
recipients who were receiving Supplemental Security Income 
(SSI) as of the date the new welfare law was enacted, August 
22, 1996. The termination date for SSI for these recipients was 
extended from August 22 to September 30, 1997 by Public Law 
105-18, signed June 12, 1997. More extensive modifications to 
the new alienage rules were included in Public Law 105-33, the 
1997 Balanced Budget Act signed into law on August 5, 1997. It 
amended the welfare law to provide that ``qualified aliens'' 
who were receiving SSI as of August 22, 1996 will continue to 
be eligible, regardless of whether their claim was based on 
disability or age. Additionally, qualified aliens who were here 
by August 22, 1996 and subsequently become disabled will be 
eligible for SSI.
     This appendix begins with a brief discussion of U.S. 
immigration policy and trends, including naturalization 
requirements and statistics. This is followed by a review of 
alien eligibility requirements and benefit use under prior law; 
some of the reasons for the adoption of restrictions on alien 
eligibility for benefits; and a summary of the new alien 
eligibility law, including action taken in the 105th Congress. 
Provisions relating to verification of status and reporting 
requirements and concerns about illegal aliens and benefits are 
also reviewed.

                   U.S. IMMIGRATION POLICY AND TRENDS

     The three major goals underlying U.S. policy on legal 
immigration are the reunification of families, the admission of 
immigrants with needed skills, and the protection of refugees. 
These goals are implemented through the Immigration and 
Nationality Act (INA), the basic law regulating the admission 
of immigrants (i.e., aliens allowed to reside in the United 
States permanently). Another goal of immigration policy is to 
allow immigrants an opportunity to integrate fully into 
society. Once aliens have been admitted for lawful permanent 
residence or have adjusted to permanent resident status while 
here, they generally become eligible to apply for U.S. 
citizenship after residing here for 5 years.
     Immigration has been increasing sharply since 1980. A 
recent Census Bureau report indicates that more than 60 percent 
of the foreign born currently in the United States entered 
between 1980 and 1996.\1\ An analysis of the 12.4 million 
immigrant admissions recorded by the Immigration and 
Naturalization Service (INS) from 1980 through 1994 indicates 
that much of the increase is attributable to the admission of 
approximately 1.6 million refugees and the adjustment of 2.8 
million legalized aliens.\2\ The latter were formerly illegal 
aliens who acquired legal status under legalization programs 
authorized by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 
(IRCA) for long-term residents and agricultural workers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ Kristin A. Hansen and Carol S. Faber, ``The Foreign-born 
Population: 1996,'' Current Population Reports, P20-494. U.S. 
Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, March 1997. p. 3.
    \2\ CRS Report 97-230, Immigration: Reasons for Growth, 1981-95, by 
Joyce C. Vialet.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
     As indicated in chart J-1, immigration during the 1990s 
has reached the highest level since its precipitous fall during 
World War I. The foreign-born population of the United States 
over the period 1870-1996 is shown in chart J-2 in terms of 
absolute numbers and as a percentage of total U.S. population. 
The year 1910 was the peak in terms of the percent of foreign 
born (14.8 percent), but 1996 was the high point in terms of 
absolute numbers (24.6 million). By 1996, the percentage of 
foreign-born residents of the United States approached 10 
percent for the first time since the mid-1930s.

CHART J-1. ADMISSION OF LEGAL PERMANENT RESIDENTS AND ALIENS LEGALIZED 
           UNDER IRCA BY MOST RECENT YEAR OF ENTRY, 1900-96 





     Source: Congressional Research Service based on data from 
the Immigration and Naturalization Service.


  CHART J-2. FOREIGN-BORN POPULATION OF THE UNITED STATES, 1870-1996 





     Source: Congressional Research Service, based on data from 
the U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1995 and Bogue, 1985.


     The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) estimated 
that there were a total of 10.5 million legal permanent 
residents in the United States as of April 1996 (see table J-
1). They were heavily concentrated in four States, led by 
California (35.3 percent). The other three were New York (14.2 
percent), Texas (7.8 percent), and Florida (7.5 percent).

 TABLE J-1.--POPULATION ESTIMATES BY STATE OF RESIDENCE: LEGAL PERMANENT RESIDENTS AND ALIENS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY 
                                       FOR NATURALIZATION AS OF APRIL 1996                                      
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         Legal permanent residents      Eligible to apply for   
                                                       -----------------------------        naturalization      
                  State of residence                                                ----------------------------
                                                           Estimate     Range (+/-)     Estimate     Range (+/-)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alabama...............................................          23,000        1,000          12,900          600
Alaska................................................          10,900          400           4,800          300
Arizona...............................................         144,000        5,000          84,000        5,000
Arkansas..............................................          12,300          400           7,100          400
California............................................       3,717,000      130,000       2,265,000      118,000
Colorado..............................................          71,000        2,000          38,000        2,000
Connecticut...........................................         126,000        4,000          73,000        4,000
Delaware..............................................          10,000          300           4,700          300
District of Columbia..................................          42,000        1,000          23,000        1,000
Florida...............................................         790,000       28,000         405,000       26,000
Georgia...............................................         102,000        3,000          51,000        3,000
Hawaii................................................          66,000        2,000          23,000        2,000
Idaho.................................................          16,000        1,000           9,800          500
Illinois..............................................         457,000       16,000         194,000       14,000
Indiana...............................................          46,000        2,000          28,000        1,000
Iowa..................................................          27,000        1,000          15,000        1,000
Kansas................................................          36,000        1,000          22,000        1,000
Kentucky..............................................          21,000        1,000          11,500          500
Louisiana.............................................          47,000        2,000          27,000        2,000
Maine.................................................          14,700          400          10,000          400
Maryland..............................................         178,000        6,000          97,000        6,000
Massachusetts.........................................         310,000        9,000         177,000        9,000
Michigan..............................................         164,000        5,000          94,000        5,000
Minnesota.............................................          77,000        2,000          40,000        2,000
Mississippi...........................................          10,800          300           6,500          300
Missouri..............................................          44,000        2,000          23,000        1,000
Montana...............................................           5,900          200           3,400          200
Nebraska..............................................          13,700          400           5,900          400
Nevada................................................          53,000        2,000          33,000        2,000
New Hampshire.........................................          19,000        1,000          12,400          500
New Jersey............................................         462,000       16,000         231,000       13,000
New Mexico............................................          43,000        2,000          30,000        1,000
New York..............................................       1,498,000       46,000         669,000       43,000
North Carolina........................................          64,000        2,000          35,000        2,000
North Dakota..........................................           4,900          100           2,200          100
Ohio..................................................         113,000        3,000          65,000        3,000
Oklahoma..............................................          32,000        1,000          18,000        1,000
Oregon................................................          78,000        2,000          47,000        2,000
Pennsylvania..........................................         160,000        5,000          72,000        5,000
Rhode Island..........................................          47,000        2,000          31,000        2,000
South Carolina........................................          24,000        1,000          13,400          700
South Dakota..........................................           4,400          100           1,900          100
Tennessee.............................................          37,000        1,000          20,000        1,000
Texas.................................................         825,000       29,000         483,000       27,000
Utah..................................................          33,000        1,000          19,000        1,000
Vermont...............................................           7,400          200           4,000          200
Virginia..............................................         183,000        5,000          97,000        5,000
Washington............................................         174,000        6,000          84,000        5,000
West Virginia.........................................           7,000          200           3,800          200
Wisconsin.............................................          70,000        2,000          46,000        2,000
Wyoming...............................................           3,600          100           2,300          100
                                                       ---------------------------------------------------------
    Total.............................................      10,525,000      350,000       5,776,000      325,000
                                                       =========================================================
 Under age 18--Not eligible for naturalization but may be able to derive                                        
 citizenship through a parent's naturalization.....................................         687,000       26,000
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note.--Totals may not add due to rounding.                                                                      
                                                                                                                
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service.                                     

               Naturalization Requirements and Statistics

     Under U.S. immigration law, all legal permanent resident 
aliens are potential citizens. To naturalize, aliens must have 
continuously resided in the United States for 5 years as 
permanent residents (3 years in the case of spouses of U.S. 
citizens), show that they have good moral character, 
demonstrate the ability to read, write, speak, and understand 
English, and pass an examination on U.S. Government and 
history. Applicants pay a fee of $95 when they file their 
materials and have the option of taking a standardized civics 
test or of having the INS examiner test them on civics as part 
of their interview.
     The language requirement is waived for those who are at 
least 50 years old and have lived in the United States at least 
20 years or who are at least 55 years old and have lived in the 
United States at least 15 years. Special consideration on the 
civics requirement is to be given to aliens who are over 65 
years and have lived in the United States for at least 20 
years. Both the language and civics requirements are waived for 
those who are unable to comply due to physical or developmental 
disabilities or mental impairment. Certain requirements are 
waived for those who served in the U.S. military.
     As shown in table J-1, the Immigration and Naturalization 
Service (INS) estimates that about 6 million permanent resident 
aliens currently are eligible to apply for naturalization. 
Estimates of the number of immigrants who ultimately become 
citizens vary by the methods in which the data are collected, 
but have typically ranged from 30 percent to 40 percent. 
Recently the number of immigrants petitioning to naturalize has 
surged, reaching 1.3 million in fiscal year 1996.\3\ This trend 
is continuing. INS reported that in fiscal year 1997, through 
July 31, 1997, it had received 1.4 million naturalization 
applications, a 51 percent increase over the same period in 
fiscal year 1996 and a 33 percent increase over all of fiscal 
year 1995 (table J-2).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\ CRS Report 95-279 EPW, Naturalization of Immigrants: Facts and 
Issues, by Ruth Ellen Wasem.

                            TABLE J-2.--NATURALIZATION CASELOAD, FISCAL YEARS 1990-96                           
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Petitions       Petitions       Petitions  
                           Fiscal year                                 filed         approved         denied    
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1990............................................................         233,843         270,101           6,516
1991............................................................         206,668         308,058           6,268
1992............................................................         342,269         240,252          19,293
1993............................................................         522,298         314,681          39,931
1994............................................................         558,139         417,847          42,574
1995............................................................       1,012,538         500,892          49,117
1996............................................................       1,347,474       1,148,574        244,001 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: INS Statistics Division.                                                                                

             ALIEN ELIGIBILITY PRIOR TO 1996 WELFARE REFORM

                               Federal Law

     Prior to 1996, there was no uniform rule governing which 
categories of noncitizens were eligible for benefits, and no 
single statute where the rules were described. Summarizing 
briefly, lawful permanent residents (i.e., immigrants) and 
other noncitizens who were legally present on a permanent basis 
(e.g., refugees) were generally eligible for Federal benefits 
on the same basis as citizens. With the single exception of 
emergency Medicaid, illegal aliens were statutorily barred by 
law from participation in all the major Federal assistance 
programs, as were tourists and most other aliens here legally 
in a temporary status (i.e., nonimmigrants). Prior law relating 
to five key programs is shown in table J-3.
     Prior to the 1996 reforms, alien eligibility requirements, 
if any, were set forth in the laws and regulations governing 
the individual Federal assistance programs. Because many 
income, health, education, and social service programs did not 
include specific provisions regarding alien eligibility, even 
illegal aliens were potentially participants. These programs 
included, for example, the Special Supplemental Nutrition 
Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), earned income 
tax credits (EITC), migrant health centers, and the Social 
Services Block Grant (SSBG) Program.

                           TABLE J-3.--ALIEN ELIGIBILITY FOR SELECTED FEDERAL PROGRAMS                          
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                  TANF \1\ and  
         Alien category                 SSI            Food stamps            Medicaid          title XX social 
                                                                                                services (SSBG) 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Immigrants \2\                                                                                                  
  Eligibility under prior law..  Yes, with deeming  Yes, with deeming  Yes...................  Yes, with deeming
                                  \3\.               \3\.                                       for AFDC \3\    
  Eligibility under current law                                                                                 
    a) Here before 8/22/96       Yes, if on rolls   No...............  Yes, for SSI-           State option     
     (Public Law 104-193          8/22/96 or                            derivative benefits                     
     enactment).                  disabled                              or emergency                            
                                  subsequently.                         services; otherwise,                    
                                                                        State option.                           
    b) New entrants--1st 5       No...............  No...............  Emergency only........  No               
     years after arrival.                                                                                       
    c) New entrants--after 5     No...............  No...............  Yes, for emergency      State option,    
     years.                                                             services; otherwise,    with deeming    
                                                                        State option, with                      
                                                                        deeming.                                
Refugees and asylees \4\                                                                                        
  Eligibility under prior law..  Yes..............  Yes..............  Yes...................  Yes              
  Eligibility under current law                                                                                 
    a) 1st 5 years after entry   Yes..............  Yes..............  Yes...................  Yes              
     or asylum.                                                                                                 
    b) after 5 years...........  Yes, until 7       No...............  Yes, for 2 more years   State option     
                                  years after                           and emergency                           
                                  entry.                                services; otherwise,                    
                                                                        State option.                           
Nonimmigrants \5\ and illegal                                                                                   
 aliens \6\                                                                                                     
  Eligibility under prior law..  No...............  No...............  Emergency only........  SSBG only        
  Eligibility under current law  No...............  No...............  Emergency only........  No               
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Previously AFDC.    \2\ Also known as permanent residents and green card holders. May live here indefinitely
  unless they commit a deportable act. Parolees admitted temporarily for at least 1 year under the Attorney     
  General's immigration parole power may receive same benefits.    \3\ Deeming refers to the attribution of the 
  sponsor's income to the immigrant in determining financial eligibility, and formerly applied to only SSI, food
  stamps, and AFDC (replaced by TANF) for 3 years after entry (5 years for SSI as of January 1, 1996).    \4\   
  Status based on individualized persecution abroad. May eventually adjust to permanent residency. Includes     
  Cuban/Haitian entrants and Amerasians.    \5\ Admitted temporarily for a limited purpose. Includes, e.g.,     
  students, visitors, and temporary workers.    \6\ Also known as undocumented aliens. Includes aliens here in  
  violation of immigration law for whom no legal relief or recognition has been extended.                       
                                                                                                                
Source: Congressional Research Service.                                                                         

 The ``public charge'' provision and development of eligibility 
        standards
    Opposition to the entry of foreign paupers and aliens 
``likely at any time to become a public charge''--language 
found in the Immigration and Nationality Act today--dates from 
colonial times. The colony of Massachusetts enacted legislation 
in 1645 prohibiting the entry of paupers, and in 1700 excluding 
the infirm unless security was given against their becoming 
public charges. New York adopted a similar practice. A bar 
against the admission of ``any person unable to take care of 
himself or herself without becoming a public charge'' was 
included in the act of August 3, 1882, the first general 
Federal immigration law.
     Prior to the 1996 legislation, applicants for immigrant 
status could meet the public charge requirement based on their 
own funds, prearranged or prospective employment, or an 
affidavit of support. Affidavits of support were submitted by 
one or more residents of the United States in order to provide 
assurance that the applicant for entry would be supported in 
this country. Starting in the 1930s and continuing until the 
1980s, affidavits of support were administratively required by 
INS but had no specific basis in statute or regulation. Court 
decisions beginning in the 1950s generally held that affidavits 
of support were not legally binding on the U.S. resident 
sponsors.\4\ The unenforceability of affidavits of support led 
to the adoption of legislation in the 1980s intended to make 
them more effective.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\ Department of Mental Hygiene v. Renal, 6 N.Y. 2d 791 (1959); 
State v. Binder, 356 Mich. 73 (1959).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
     Despite immigration policy to exclude potential public 
charges, Federal assistance laws contained no eligibility 
restrictions based on immigration status until the early 1970s. 
In the absence of Federal law State governments enacted 
restrictions, usually durational residency requirements, or the 
eligibility of legal aliens for assistance under State or joint 
Federal-State programs. However, in 1971 in a landmark 
decision, Graham v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 365, the U.S. Supreme 
Court declared these State restrictions to be unconstitutional. 
The Supreme Court found that they violated the equal protection 
clause of the 14th amendment and they encroached upon the 
exclusive Federal power to regulate immigration.
     Beginning with the new SSI Program in 1972, Federal 
statutory and regulatory alien eligibility criteria were 
established for the major Federal assistance programs. In 
addition to meeting the financial need and family structure 
criteria applicable to U.S. citizens, noncitizens were required 
either to be lawfully admitted for permanent residence, or 
otherwise ``permanently residing in the United States under 
color of law'' (PRUCOL) in order to be eligible for SSI, AFDC, 
Medicaid, or food stamps.\5\ These criteria were adopted with 
the intent of barring participation by temporary nonimmigrants 
and particularly by illegal aliens.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\ In part because of the vagueness of the PRUCOL standard, the 
food stamp legislation was amended in 1977 to specify categories of 
eligible aliens.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
     In response to concerns about the unenforceability of 
affidavits of support and the perceived abuse of the welfare 
system by some newly arrived immigrants, legislation was 
enacted in the early 1980s limiting the availability to 
sponsored immigrants of SSI, AFDC, and food stamps. The 
enabling legislation for the three programs was amended to 
provide that for the purpose of determining financial 
eligibility, immigrants who had used an affidavit of support to 
meet the public charge requirement would be deemed to have 
available for their support some portion of the income and 
resources of their immigration sponsors. The sponsor-to-alien 
deeming period was set at 3 years for the three programs. This 
period was temporarily increased from 3 to 5 years for SSI, 
effective January 1, 1994 to October 1, 1996. For those 
immigrants still covered under the pre-1996 rules, the duration 
of SSI deeming has reverted back to 3 years.
     The 1996 welfare law significantly expanded the use of 
sponsor-to-alien deeming as a means of restricting the 
participation of new immigrants in Federal means-tested 
programs. It also established new, legally enforceable 
responsibilities for sponsors who pledge support through 
affidavits of support. Both deeming and the affidavits of 
support upon which deeming is based are intended to implement 
the provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that 
excludes aliens who appear ``likely at any time to become a 
public charge.''

                        Prior State and Local Law

    In 1971, the Supreme Court held in Graham v. Richardson 
that the equal protection clause and the exclusive authority of 
Congress to regulate immigration barred States from 
distinguishing between citizens and legal aliens in providing 
State-funded or joint Federal-State benefits. More recently, 
the Supreme Court has recognized that the States do have some 
authority to enact laws that adversely affect illegal aliens, 
at least where these laws mirror Federal immigration policy. 
However, this authority is circumscribed. In 1982, the Supreme 
Court held in Plyler v. Doe \6\ that the States could not deny 
illegal alien children a free public education, in part because 
of the absence of Federal guidance on the issue.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\ 457 U.S. 202 (1982).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
     State regulation of alien access to State and local 
assistance programs continued to be governed by the Graham and 
Plyler decisions. For example, several State supreme courts 
cited Graham to overturn State laws that imposed sponsor-to-
alien deeming under State cash assistance programs. In a later 
example, a U.S. district court judge overturned large parts of 
California's proposition 187, a ballot initiative that denied 
illegal aliens education and other State-provided services.\7\ 
Though the judge ruled that the State did have leeway to deny 
illegal aliens many services (not including elementary and 
secondary education), she also held that the State could not 
make its own determinations of the legality of individuals' 
immigration status nor impose its own alienage standards on 
services funded at least in part with Federal funds.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\ League of United Latin American Citizens v. Wilson, 908 F. 
Supp. 755 (C.D. Cal. 1995).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
     Because Graham left little leeway for State regulation of 
legal permanent residents, the States were required to provide 
needy permanent residents with the same assistance they 
provided needy citizens. This was true under joint Federal-
State programs, such as AFDC and Medicaid, which were governed 
by broad Federal alien eligibility rules even though the 
Federal Government funded only a portion of assistance. Broad 
alien eligibility rules set by Congress also indirectly 
resulted in significant outlays for State supplements to SSI.
     Also, States could not differentiate between legal aliens 
and citizens under State-funded general assistance (GA) 
programs. According to an October 1996 report by the Urban 
Institute, cash or in-kind assistance was provided to the needy 
under GA programs in all or part of 41 States; 9 States had no 
GA programs operating within them. Of the States with GA 
programs in at least some localities, 32 had statewide programs 
(though in some of these, including California, benefits varied 
by county). In nine States (including Texas and Florida), 
general assistance is not required statewide but some 
localities, especially large urban jurisdictions, have chosen 
to operate GA programs on their own.
     Exercising their broader authority with regard to illegal 
aliens, the GA laws of 36 States limited eligibility to 
citizens and legal residents. Nevertheless, even though many 
States had thus attempted to limit expenditures for illegal 
aliens, some of the largest State outlays for illegal aliens--
elementary and secondary education, for example--remained 
beyond State control.

             USE OF BENEFITS BY NONCITIZENS UNDER PRIOR LAW

                           Administrative Data

    Much of the current concern with the use of public 
assistance by noncitizens began in 1993 in response to a study 
by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The subject was 
the use of SSI by legal aliens entering either as lawfully 
admitted immigrants or ``under color of law.'' SSA found that 
permanent legal aliens made up more than 25 percent of SSI 
recipients receiving benefits based on age.
     More recent data presented by SSA \8\ indicated a steady 
increase from 1982 through 1995 in the number and percentage of 
lawfully admitted aliens receiving SSI, and an increased 
percentage of total beneficiaries who are legal aliens (see 
table J-4). Significant numbers of refugees were being admitted 
during this period. Legal aliens entering under color of law, 
most of whom were refugees, accounted for 26 percent of the 
total number of legal alien SSI recipients in December 1995 
(see table J-5). The figures were even greater among aged 
recipients. In 1995, legal aliens accounted for about 32 
percent of all aged SSI recipients, who receive more than 50 
percent of all SSI funds for the aged; legal aliens accounted 
for 6.5 percent of disabled (or blind) recipients.\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\ Elsa Ponce, Lawfully Resident Aliens Who Receive SSI Payments, 
December 1995. U.S. Social Security Administration, February 1996.
    \9\ The number of new alien applicants for SSI, which had been 
increasing during each of the 12 previous years, actually decreased by 
nearly 15,000 in fiscal year 1994 and almost 11,000 in fiscal year 
1995. SSA stated that one possible factor for this drop was the 
temporary extension of the sponsor-to-alien deeming period from 3 to 5 
years beginning in January 1994 (Ponce, 1996, p. 2). As the deeming 
period is extended, the number of sponsored aliens who may be denied 
assistance because of deeming potentially increases.

 TABLE J-4.--NUMBER OF ALIENS RECEIVING SSI PAYMENTS AND ALIEN RECIPIENTS AS A PERCENTAGE OF ALL SSI RECIPIENTS 
                                        BY ELIGIBILITY CATEGORY, 1982-95                                        
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Total               Aged              Disabled     
                                                     -----------------------------------------------------------
                        Year                                     Percent             Percent             Percent
                                                         All    of total   Aliens    of SSI    Aliens    of SSI 
                                                       aliens      SSI                aged              disabled
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1982................................................   127,906       3.3    91,900       5.9    36,000       1.6
1983................................................   151,207       3.9   106,600       7.0    44,600       1.9
1984................................................   181,108       4.5   127,600       8.3    53,500       2.1
1985................................................   210,810       5.1   146,500       9.7    64,300       2.4
1986................................................   244,311       5.7   165,300      11.2    79,000       2.8
1987................................................   282,513       6.4   188,000      12.9    94,500       3.2
1988................................................   320,315       7.2   213,900      14.9   106,400       3.5
1989................................................   370,317       8.1   245,700      17.1   124,600       4.0
1990................................................   435,619       9.0   282,400      19.4   153,200       4.6
1991................................................   519,683      10.2   329,690      22.5   189,970       5.2
1992................................................   601,455      10.8   372,930      25.4   228,500       5.6
1993................................................   683,178      11.5   416,420      28.2   266,730       5.9
1994................................................   738,140      11.8   440,000      30.2   298,140       6.2
1995................................................   785,410      12.2   459,220      32.1   326,190      6.5 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: SSI 10-percent sample files.                                                                            

     The most recent SSA data indicated that 724,990 
noncitizens were receiving SSI in December 1996, shown by State 
in table J-6. Of this number, 417,360 (or 57.6 percent) 
qualified because of age, and 307,630 (or 42.4 percent) because 
of disability. The noncitizen caseload was 11 percent of the 
total SSI caseload, and the noncitizen aged caseload was 30 
percent of the total SSI aged caseload. According to an SSA 
spokesman, about 490,000 of total noncitizen recipients were 
over 65, which means that 73,000 of the disabled recipients 
were also elderly. (Recipients admitted to the rolls on the 
basis of disability remain in this category regardless of their 
age.)
     Diagnostic data for disabled noncitizen SSI recipients 
available for December 1995 are shown in table J-7. More than 
half (55 percent) of disabled noncitizens were in the 50-64 age 
category. This age group accounted for 27 percent of disabled 
recipients in general. (The table is limited to the disabled 
under 65.) The diseases of this older group of alien 
recipients, of course, heavily weighted the overall picture of 
diagnoses of disability. This data is of interest because, as 
amended in 1997, the welfare law provides for continued SSI 
eligibility of qualified aliens who were in the United States 
before August 22, 1996 and subsequently become disabled.

    TABLE J-5.--NUMBER OF ALIENS RECEIVING FEDERALLY ADMINISTERED SSI   
      PAYMENTS BY LEGAL STATUS AND COUNTRY OF ORIGIN, DECEMBER 1995     
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Color of  Lawfully  Increase
        Country of origin           Total      law    admitted   1989-95
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Africa..........................     7,660     1,330     6,330     4,970
North America:                                                          
    Canada......................     2,890       140     2,750       900
    Other.......................     (\1\)     (\1\)     (\1\)     (\1\)
Latin America:                                                          
    Cuba........................    58,270    15,740    42,530    24,360
    Dominican Republic..........    31,730       160    31,570    20,650
    El Salvador.................    11,020       580    10,440     7,680
    Haiti.......................    10,070       490     9,580     6,140
    Jamaica.....................    10,130       120    10,010     5,550
    Mexico......................   131,650     5,740   125,910    78,640
    Columbia....................     8,390       170     8,220     4,020
    Ecuador.....................     6,230       110     6,120     3,330
    Guyana......................     4,910     (\1\)     (\1\)     2,700
    Other.......................    31,670     1,360    30,310    17,890
East Asia:                                                              
    China.......................    41,820     2,120    39,700    20,700
    South Korea.................    26,380       140    26,240    10,850
    Other.......................     3,680     (\1\)     (\1\)     1,210
South Asia:                                                             
    Afghanistan.................     4,620     2,650     1,970     2,420
    Cambodia....................    22,460    12,170    10,290    10,070
    India.......................    18,420       210    18,210    10,160
    Iran........................    20,710     6,320    14,390    13,290
    Laos........................    27,830    16,420    11,410    14,390
    Philippines.................    38,780       390    38,390    13,510
    Taiwan......................     5,600       100     5,500     2,450
    Vietnam.....................    53,220    26,650    26,570    33,520
    Other.......................    24,740     3,200    21,540    14,110
Europe:                                                                 
    Italy.......................     3,200     (\1\)     (\1\)       600
    Portugal....................     6,190     (\1\)     (\1\)     1,480
    Romania.....................     4,060     1,410     2,650     1,830
    United Kingdom..............     2,730       540     2,190     1,160
    Other.......................    14,810     1,370    13,440     6,220
Former Soviet Republics.........    74,230    60,060    14,170    57,090
Oceania.........................     2,460     (\1\)     (\1\)     1,390
Unidentified....................    74,760    43,830    30,930    12,020
                                 ---------------------------------------
      Total.....................   785,410   203,840   581,570  405,370 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Relative sampling error too large for presentation of estimates.    
                                                                        
 Source: SSI 10-percent sample.                                         


      TABLE J-6.--NUMBER OF ALIENS RECEIVING SSI PAYMENTS BY ELIGIBILITY CATEGORY AND STATE, DECEMBER 1996      
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              State                                    Total           Aged          Disabled   
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alabama.........................................................             480             370             110
Alaska..........................................................             750             390             360
Arizona.........................................................           7,650           3,900           3,750
Arkansas........................................................             340             190             150
California......................................................         293,180         163,900         129,280
Colorado........................................................           5,140           2,740           2,400
Connecticut.....................................................           4,370           2,700           1,670
Delaware........................................................             330             200             130
District of Columbia............................................             860             530             330
Florida.........................................................          69,710          44,310          25,400
Georgia.........................................................           4,570           2,930           1,640
Hawaii..........................................................           3,770           2,850             920
Idaho...........................................................             410             220             190
Illinois........................................................          22,980          13,360           9,620
Indiana.........................................................           1,080             730             350
Iowa............................................................           1,170             600             570
Kansas..........................................................           1,500             700             800
Kentucky........................................................             720             380             340
Louisiana.......................................................           2,500           1,430           1,070
Maine...........................................................             540             200             340
Maryland........................................................           7,800           5,970           1,830
Massachusetts...................................................          23,980          13,410          10,570
Michigan........................................................           7,350           4,060           3,290
Minnesota.......................................................           6,640           2,340           4,300
Mississippi.....................................................             440             220             220
Missouri........................................................           1,800           1,030             770
Montana.........................................................             150           (\1\)           (\1\)
Nebraska........................................................             720             340             380
Nevada..........................................................           2,370           1,590             780
New Hampshire...................................................             350             200             150
New Jersey......................................................          22,140          14,580           7,560
New Mexico......................................................           3,350           1,530           1,820
New York........................................................         113,900          65,340          48,560
North Carolina..................................................           2,600           1,590           1,010
North Dakota....................................................             180           (\1\)           (\1\)
Ohio............................................................           5,340           3,380           1,960
Oklahoma........................................................           1,340             880             460
Oregon..........................................................           4,260           2,200           2,060
Pennsylvania....................................................          11,340           6,470           4,870
Rhode Island....................................................           3,440           1,700           1,740
South Carolina..................................................             580             420             160
South Dakota....................................................             200           (\1\)           (\1\)
Tennessee.......................................................           1,380             850             530
Texas...........................................................          54,760          32,640          22,120
Utah............................................................           1,420             700             720
Vermont.........................................................             150           (\1\)           (\1\)
Virginia........................................................           6,780           5,150           1,630
Washington......................................................          13,160           5,920           7,240
West Virginia...................................................             190           (\1\)           (\1\)
Wisconsin.......................................................           4,790           1,800           2,990
Wyoming.........................................................           (\1\)           (\1\)           (\1\)
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................         724,990         417,360         307,630
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Relative sampling error too large for presentation of estimates.                                            
                                                                                                                
Source: SSI 10-percent sample file, December 1996.                                                              

     High use of SSI by aliens has resulted in large outlays of 
Federal funds for SSI benefits, large outlays of State funds 
under State supplementation of SSI, and large Federal-State 
outlays for Medicaid benefits that generally accompany SSI. 
Table J-8 shows that, beyond high rates of use, the average 
benefit amount for alien recipients exceeds the average benefit 
paid to citizens. This difference is largely attributable to 
the fact that alien recipients of SSI are less likely than 
citizens to qualify for retirement and disability benefits 
under the Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Program 
(OASDI), frequently because they have not been here long enough 
to work 10 years. Receipt of OASDI benefits reduces the amount 
of SSI benefits to which a recipient is entitled.
     Administrative data for the AFDC and Food Stamp Programs, 
while more limited than those available for SSI, show lower 
usage rates than have been found for SSI. Health and Human 
Services data on characteristics of AFDC recipients indicate 
that, as a percentage of total adult AFDC recipients, 
noncitizens legally in the United States have increased from 
6.3 percent in fiscal year 1986 to 12.2 percent in fiscal year 
1995 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1996). This 
compares with the increase in noncitizen aged SSI recipients 
from 11.2 percent of the total in fiscal year 1986 to 32.1 
percent of the total in fiscal year 1995 (Ponce, 1996). 
Department of Agriculture Food Stamp Program data on the 
citizenship of the heads of households receiving food stamps in 
fiscal year 1995 indicated that 7.7 percent were headed by 
permanent resident aliens and 1.8 percent were headed by other 
aliens, for a total of 9.5 percent (U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, 1997).

                         U.S. Census Bureau Data

     The most comprehensive source of information on 
participation by the foreign born in public assistance programs 
is the Census Bureau's March Current Population Survey (CPS). 
The Census Bureau conducts the CPS each month to collect labor 
force data about the civilian noninstitutionalized population. 
The March Supplement of the CPS gathers additional data about 
income, education, household characteristics, and geographic 
mobility. The March 1994 Supplement was the first CPS to ask 
participants about their citizenship status.

 TABLE J-7.--BLIND AND DISABLED PERSONS UNDER AGE 65 RECEIVING FEDERALLY ADMINISTERED SSI PAYMENTS AND BLIND AND DISABLED ALIENS UNDER AGE 65 RECEIVING 
                                     FEDERALLY ADMINISTERED SSI PAYMENTS BY AGE AND DIAGNOSTIC GROUP, DECEMBER 1995                                     
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     Blind and disabled SSI recipients                     Blind and disabled aliens receiving SSI      
                                       -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
           Diagnostic group                                         Age                                                      Age                        
                                       -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Total      Under 18    18-24       25-49        50-64       Total     Under 18    18-24     25-49     50-64  
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Infective and parasitic...............          1.7        0.4        0.5          2.8          1.4        2.4        1.0       2.0       4.4        1.2
Neoplasms.............................          1.5        1.6        1.2          1.1          2.2        2.2        3.0       1.6       1.8        2.5
Endocrine and metabolic...............          4.1        1.1        1.4          4.0          7.5        3.9        0.4       0.5       2.2        5.5
Mental disorders:                                                                                                                                       
    Retardation.......................         28.2       40.6       50.2         28.1         11.3       10.0       40.9      42.1      13.7        2.7
    Psychiatric illness...............         31.2       24.8       22.0         38.6         27.6       35.3       11.7      19.1      47.0       30.4
        Schizophrenia.................          8.9        0.5        4.8         14.3          8.2        8.9        0.7       7.8      16.9        4.2
        Other psychiatric.............         22.3       24.3       17.2         24.3         19.4       26.3       11.0      11.2      30.1       26.1
Diseases of systems:                                                                                                                                    
    Nervous and sense organ...........         10.1       12.2       14.0          9.8          7.9       10.3       26.0      21.7      10.8        8.1
    Circulatory.......................          5.0        0.7        0.9          2.6         13.3       10.7        1.3       1.4       3.6       16.8
    Respiratory.......................          2.6        2.9        0.8          1.2          5.3        2.5        1.3       0.5       1.3        3.6
    Digestive.........................          0.7        0.1        0.2          0.7          1.0        0.8        0.2       0.0       0.6        1.0
    Musculoskeletal...................          7.1        1.1        1.6          5.0         17.1       14.7        2.9       2.8       6.7       21.9
Congenital anomalies..................          1.6        4.9        2.1          0.8          0.3        0.4        4.3       0.5       0.4        0.2
Injury and poisoning..................          2.8        0.6        2.4          3.4          3.6        4.2        1.1       3.7       4.5        4.3
    Other.............................          3.4        8.8        2.7          2.0          1.6        2.7        6.0       4.1       3.2        2.0
                                       -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Percent.......................        100.0      100.0      100.0        100.0        100.0      100.0      100.0     100.0     100.0      100.0
                                       =================================================================================================================
        Total.........................    4,345,820    911,910    390,450    1,868,160    1,175,300    249,050      8,380    12,370    90,970   137,330 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source: Social Security Administration, unpublished data, 1996.                                                                                         


 TABLE J-8.--AVERAGE MONTHLY FEDERALLY ADMINISTERED PAYMENT (FEDERAL SSI AND STATE SUPPLEMENTATION) RECEIVED BY NONALIENS AND ALIENS BY STATE, DECEMBER 
                                                                          1995                                                                          
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                             Nonalien                                          Alien                    
                          State                          -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Total           Aged          Disabled          Total           Aged          Disabled   
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alabama.................................................         $293.57         $159.54         $331.94         $369.22         $358.96         $402.93
Alaska..................................................          323.65          225.81          333.79          284.86          242.13          348.97
Arizona.................................................          324.09          187.03          347.47          314.57          299.92          330.11
Arkansas................................................          281.82          138.85          320.61          343.91          354.86          327.50
California..............................................          402.48          265.12          439.47          492.10          475.66          513.89
Colorado................................................          305.06          157.15          329.03          367.05          364.78          369.78
Connecticut.............................................          318.95          193.18          336.54          353.56          352.30          355.85
Delaware................................................          306.82          133.42          331.83          312.51          318.65          304.67
District of Columbia....................................          334.14          179.24          361.33          342.83          321.49          376.45
Florida.................................................          310.82          182.67          342.10          342.57          331.79          361.89
Georgia.................................................          283.33          148.66          318.32          356.85          354.08          362.47
Hawaii..................................................          361.64          290.60          390.88          354.16          336.28          413.13
Idaho...................................................          309.97          109.97          335.29          317.42          297.35          335.37
Illinois................................................          354.88          179.08          370.78          367.62          358.96          380.19
Indiana.................................................          319.20          148.79          337.53          357.15          358.89          353.43
Iowa....................................................          289.03          138.62          313.90          371.88          355.51          388.53
Kansas..................................................          304.86          152.59          323.05          399.94          394.51          404.90
Kentucky................................................          314.15          156.16          342.36          376.85          384.44          368.78
Louisiana...............................................          315.74          164.61          347.66          335.84          322.55          357.20
Maine...................................................          263.90          107.64          297.17          301.42          274.19          319.56
Maryland................................................          326.38          159.08          352.51          354.64          350.50          368.02
Massachusetts...........................................          336.76          210.79          377.87          421.52          414.59          429.79
Michigan................................................          347.46          167.62          366.16          376.00          362.66          391.52
Minnesota...............................................          301.12          144.11          327.78          410.54          386.04          425.24
Mississippi.............................................          392.71          156.52          331.55          362.79          354.79          372.46
Missouri................................................          310.45          143.20          338.24          385.99          389.69          379.93
Montana.................................................          331.78          330.82          314.10          354.71           (\1\)           (\1\)
Nebraska................................................          286.41          122.10          315.17          352.22          364.88          339.56
Nevada..................................................          306.82          190.17          339.54          367.46          372.52          357.57
New Hampshire...........................................          301.41          126.24          318.95          306.37          306.05          306.80
New Jersey..............................................          334.93          200.36          360.46          378.07          374.73          384.79
New Mexico..............................................          305.29          165.21          340.64          301.36          281.09          319.80
New York................................................          375.36          224.61          403.92          419.13          405.38          438.08
North Carolina..........................................          277.54          150.40          314.79          363.25          354.12          379.31
North Dakota............................................          272.90          142.42          302.96          377.07          403.40          362.44
Ohio....................................................          347.82          163.77          362.52          365.92          360.27          376.16
Oklahoma................................................          291.65          150.54          326.85          357.57          352.38          367.52
Oregon..................................................          309.57          141.34          332.04          373.03          365.65          381.07
Pennsylvania............................................          351.55          185.46          378.39          408.82          397.39          424.96
Rhode Island............................................          336.65          161.73          367.82          380.45          353.35          408.90
South Carolina..........................................          287.51          156.29          323.52          350.15          349.28          352.32
South Dakota............................................          294.51          143.62          326.56          334.32          241.00          402.18
Tennessee...............................................          299.07          149.90          331.39          365.08          362.75          368.74
Texas...................................................          282.12          162.62          324.74          287.91          266.16          320.74
Utah....................................................          315.08          149.27          331.30          369.07          359.86          378.00
Vermont.................................................          305.23          158.76          330.89          420.63          364.63          476.63
Virginia................................................          292.16          150.47          324.49          366.36          361.91          379.46
Washington..............................................          335.03          181.50          350.30          419.44          408.92          428.05
West Virginia...........................................          326.65          151.71          348.83          349.00          320.83          391.25
Wisconsin...............................................          315.27          134.52          337.41          409.25          388.92          421.43
Wyoming.................................................          303.48           98.78          327.27          232.50          153.33          470.00
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total...............................................         $329.18         $189.83         $359.32         $421.17         $405.23        $443.61 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Relative sampling error too large for presentation of estimates.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                                        
 Source: SSI 10-percent sample file, December 1996.                                                                                                     

     Because CPS is a sample of the U.S. population, the 
results are necessarily estimates. Additionally, while the data 
collected in this survey distinguish between the foreign born 
who have naturalized and those who have not, it does not 
distinguish between types of noncitizens (e.g., permanent, 
temporary, illegal). Most noncitizens counted by the census are 
thought to be here legally, with probably the majority being 
legal permanent residents.
     The Congressional Research Service analyzed data from the 
March 1994 CPS Survey.\10\ The findings are summarized in 
tables J-9 and J-10 (O'Grady, 1995, p. 28).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \10\ O'Grady, M.J. (1995).

   TABLE J-9.--PERCENT OF CITIZENS BY BIRTH, NATURALIZED CITIZENS, AND  
         NONCITIZENS RECEIVING VARIOUS WELFARE BENEFITS IN 1994         
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        
           Welfare program            Citizens  Naturalized             
                                      by birth    citizens   Noncitizens
------------------------------------------------------------------------
SSI.................................         2           3            3 
    Under age 65....................         2           2            2 
    Age 65 and older................         4           7           23 
AFDC................................         5           2            6 
State assistance....................         1       (\1\)            2 
Food stamps.........................        12           7           16 
Medicaid............................         8           3          11  
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Sample too small for reliable estimates.                            
                                                                        
 Note.--Twenty-nine percent of noncitizen households live below the     
  Federal poverty level as compared with 15 percent of citizens by birth
  and 10 percent of naturalized citizens.                               
                                                                        
 Source: O'Grady, M.J. (1995).                                          

     Generally speaking, the CRS analysis corroborated 
administrative data that showed that the foreign born were 
significantly more likely to use SSI, but were not 
significantly more likely than citizens by birth to use AFDC or 
food stamps. Table J-9 shows that in the AFDC, Food Stamp and 
Medicaid Programs, noncitizens had higher participation rates 
than the native born, but that naturalized citizens had lower 
participation rates than the native born. However, in the SSI 
Program both noncitizens and naturalized citizens had higher 
participation rates than native born citizens. This was 
especially true among the aged population.
     In addition to the elderly, the other major subgroup of 
the foreign born using welfare appears to be refugees (and 
their relatives). While the CRS study did not desegregate 
refugees, Urban Institute analysts did in Senate testimony. 
Based also on the March 1994 CPS, they found that 13.1 percent 
of the foreign born from the major refugee sending countries 
used AFDC, SSI, or GA, compared to 5.8 percent of the foreign 
born from other countries.\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\ Fix, M., Passel, J.S., & Zimmermann, W. (1996). The use of SSI 
and other welfare programs by immigrants. Testimony before the U.S. 
Senate [Judiciary] Subcommittee on Immigration, Feb. 6, 1996. 
Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.

TABLE J-10.--PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE RECEIVING VARIOUS WELFARE BENEFITS AND
    PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL RECIPIENTS BY CITIZENSHIP STATUS, MARCH 1994    
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                              Citizenship status        
                                     -----------------------------------
               Program                Citizens  Naturalized             
                                      by birth    citizens   Noncitizens
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Food stamps                                                             
    Percentage receiving............        12           7           16 
    Percentage of all food stamp                                        
     recipients.....................        90           1            8 
AFDC                                                                    
    Percentage receiving............         5           2            6 
    Percentage of all AFDC                                              
     recipients.....................        92           1            7 
State assistance                                                        
    Percentage receiving............         1       (\1\)            2 
    Percentage of all State                                             
     assistance recipients \2\......        85       (\1\)           12 
Total population                                                        
    Number (thousands)..............   237,184       6,975       15,593 
    Percentage......................        91           3           6  
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Sample too small for reliable estimates.                            
\2\ Percentages do not add to 100 due to sample sizes too small for     
  reliable results.                                                     
                                                                        
 Source: O'Grady, M.J. (1995).                                          

     With regard to use of food stamps, O'Grady (1995, pp. 17-
18) found the following (see table J-10):
  --Overall 31 million people or 12 percent of the population 
        lived in food stamp households.
  --Naturalized citizens were less likely to live in food stamp 
        households than citizens born in the United States. 
        Only 7 percent of naturalized citizens lived in 
        households that received food stamps compared with 12 
        percent of the population born in the United States.
  --Noncitizens were more likely than citizens born in the 
        United States to live in households that receive food 
        stamps. Among noncitizens 3 million or 16 percent lived 
        in households that receive food stamps.
     As with food stamps, O'Grady also found that noncitizens 
were more likely to report Medicaid coverage than the native 
born (p. 20), but that naturalized citizens were less likely to 
report Medicaid coverage. Other findings include:
  --There were about 2 million noncitizens reporting Medicaid 
        coverage. These noncitizens represented 8 percent of 
        the population reporting Medicaid coverage but less 
        than 1 percent of the total U.S. population.
  --Eleven percent of noncitizens reported that they were 
        covered by Medicaid as compared with 8 percent of 
        citizens born in the United States, and 3 percent of 
        naturalized citizens.
     Seven percent of the people living in AFDC families were 
noncitizens. Further, of the noncitizen population, 6 percent 
lived in families receiving AFDC compared to 5 percent of the 
native born population and only 2 percent of the naturalized 
population. Table J-10 summarizes the findings on use of AFDC 
and State cash assistance.

          REASONS FOR CHANGE IN ALIEN ELIGIBILITY FOR BENEFITS

     High immigration levels in the 1990s came at a time of 
increasing concern about both welfare dependence and the 
budget. There was growing public concern about immigrants' 
disproportionately high use of SSI. As noted above, in May 
1993, the Social Security Administration issued a report 
entitled ``SSI Payments to Lawfully Resident Aliens.'' 
According to the report, over 600,000 legal aliens were 
receiving SSI payments in December 1992, the annual application 
rate of legal immigrants for SSI had tripled between 1982 and 
1992, and immigrants made up more than 25 percent of total age-
based recipients.
     In the opinion of many, this high use of SSI indicated, at 
best, an abuse of the spirit of the law. There was widespread 
public concern that naturalized U.S. citizens were bringing in 
their parents as immigrants with the intention of supporting 
them only as long as they were required to do so under the SSI 
sponsor-to-alien deeming rule--at which point, the parents 
could start collecting SSI benefits.
     This concern coincided with a broader effort to reform 
welfare. During the 1992 election campaign, President Clinton 
had promised to end welfare as we know it, and the House 
Republicans sponsored a comprehensive welfare proposal during 
the 103d Congress that included new alienage restrictions. 
Another factor driving changes in benefits for noncitizens 
involved the budget. The money spent on public assistance for 
noncitizens was viewed as a budget resource to help reduce 
Federal spending and thus balance the budget.
     The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the 
alien eligibility changes in the welfare law would save almost 
$23.7 billion over 6 years, 56 percent of which would result 
from changing the eligibility rules for SSI.\12\ The $23.7 
billion savings accounted for almost half of the $54.1 billion 
savings estimated for the act. These savings were subsequently 
reduced by the immigration-related provisions of the 1997 
Balanced Budget Act. CBO estimated their cost at $11.5 billion 
over the 5-year period 1998-2002. Thus, estimated net 
reductions in Federal spending on welfare benefits for 
noncitizens resulting from the 1996 welfare reform law and 
subsequent changes is $12.2 billion over 5 years.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\ Federal Budgetary Implications of the Personal Responsibility 
and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, CBO Memorandum. 
Congressional Budget Office, December 1996. p. 27.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
     In summary, Congress decided that citizens should take 
priority over noncitizens in allocating limited budget 
resources and that the primary responsibility for assisting 
needy immigrants should be borne by the immigrants' sponsors 
rather than the government. In the view of the authors of this 
legislation, the new restrictions were a logical extension of 
the policies historically embodied by the public charge 
provision.
     Public Law 105-33, the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, 
modified in several ways the basic policy adopted in the 104th 
Congress of restricting alien eligibility for Federal benefits. 
However, while expensive, these modifications were limited in 
scope. Only two programs, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), 
which provides cash assistance for needy persons who are aged, 
blind, or disabled, and, to a lesser degree, Medicaid, are 
substantially affected by the changes to noncitizens' benefits 
in the Balanced Budget Act. Similarly, only noncitizens here 
before August 22, 1996, the enactment date of the 1996 welfare 
law, are affected (except for new entries who benefit from a 2-
year extension of refugee eligibility). The basic policy laid 
out by the 1996 welfare law remains essentially unchanged for 
noncitizens entering after its enactment.

                ALIEN ELIGIBILITY FOR FEDERAL ASSISTANCE

     The 1996 welfare law and, to a lesser extent, the 1996 
immigration law restricted alien eligibility for Federal 
benefits in three basic ways:
  --They barred access to programs based on alien status;
  --They required legally binding affidavits of support from 
        immigrants' sponsors; and
  --They required that sponsors' income be deemed available to 
        immigrants in determining eligibility for most means-
        tested programs.
     These three types of restrictions on Federal benefits, and 
the change they represent from prior law, are reviewed below.

                              Program Bars

     Until 1996, aliens who were lawful permanent residents or 
who were otherwise legally present on a permanent basis (e.g., 
refugees) were generally eligible for Federal benefits on the 
same basis as citizens. That is, they were only required to 
meet the eligibility criteria (such as family income and size) 
that applied to citizens. In contrast, undocumented aliens were 
specifically barred by law from participation in all the major 
Federal assistance programs (except emergency Medicaid), as 
were tourists and most other aliens here legally in a temporary 
status.
     The 1996 welfare law added new rules barring qualified 
aliens from participation in Federal assistance programs. 
Qualified aliens include aliens admitted for legal permanent 
residence (also known as immigrants), refugees, aliens paroled 
into the United States for at least 1 year, and aliens granted 
asylum or related relief. The 1996 immigration law added 
certain abused spouses and children as another class of 
qualified aliens, and the 1997 Balanced Budget Act added Cuban/
Haitian entrants. (The terms qualified alien and legal 
immigrant are used interchangeably in this appendix.)
     The laws made several exceptions to eligibility changes, 
so that the restrictions discussed below do not apply to 
qualified aliens who are veterans or certain active duty 
personnel, and their spouses and dependent unmarried children; 
or those who meet a 10-year work requirement. In order to 
satisfy the work requirement, the immigrant must meet the 40 
``qualifying quarters'' test. As defined by Public Law 104-193, 
a qualifying quarter is a 3-month work period with sufficient 
income to qualify as a Social Security quarter and, with 
respect to periods beginning after 1996, during which the 
worker did not receive Federal means-based assistance. Work 
performed by the alien, the alien's parent while the alien was 
under age 18, and the alien's spouse (provided the alien 
remains married to the spouse or the spouse is deceased) all 
may be counted as qualifying quarters.
     The rules barring legal immigrants from benefits fall into 
three general categories, and are summarized below. It should 
be noted that none of these rules apply to aliens once they 
become naturalized citizens. The effect of these rules as they 
apply to SSI, food stamps, Medicaid, TANF, and SSBG is 
summarized in table J-3 above, together with the change from 
the law prior to 1996.
 Permanent bar
     Congress imposed a bar to access by legal immigrants to 
two federally financed programs. These are Supplemental 
Security Income (SSI), which provides cash aid for needy 
persons who are aged, blind, or disabled; and food stamps, 
which provides certain low-income households with monthly 
benefits, generally in the form of food stamp coupons, to 
enable them to purchase more adequate diets.
     The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity 
Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-193) bars most legal 
immigrants from food stamps and, with significant exceptions, 
from SSI. Public Law 105-33 amended the welfare law to provide 
that qualified aliens who were receiving SSI as of August 22, 
1996 will continue to be eligible, regardless of whether their 
claim was based on disability or age. Additionally, qualified 
aliens who were here by August 22, 1996 and subsequently become 
disabled will be eligible for SSI.\13\ Refugees and asylees are 
temporarily exempted from the SSI bar for 7 years and the food 
stamp bar for 5 years after entering as refugees or being 
granted asylum. The 1997 act also made Cuban/Haitian entrants 
and Amerasians eligible for benefits on the same basis as 
refugees, as they had been prior to 1996.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\ The 1997 law also includes a limited grandfather clause for 
legal aliens who have been identified by SSA as receiving benefits on 
August 22, 1996, but who do not appear to fit within one of the 
categories of qualified aliens defined by the 1996 legislation. SSA and 
CBO estimate their number to be approximately 20,000, but little is 
known about their current status. Presumably a determination about 
their continuing eligibility will be made by September 30, 1998. 
Additionally, members of recognized Indian tribes and certain Canadian-
born Indians are exempt from SSI and Medicaid restrictions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
 State option
     The second set of restrictions applies to three Federal/
State matching grant programs: Medicaid, TANF, and SSBG. 
Medicaid provides medical assistance for low-income persons who 
are aged, blind, or disabled or members of needy families with 
dependent children. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families 
(TANF) is a new block grant program established by the 1996 
welfare act; TANF provides Federal funds to States for 
temporary cash assistance for needy families, and replaces Aid 
to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). The Social Services 
Block Grant (SSBG) Program is also a State block grant program, 
providing Federal funds to States for social services aimed at 
preventing dependency and remedying problems associated with 
it.
     Beginning January 1, 1997, States may permit or prohibit 
participation by legal immigrants who entered the United States 
before enactment of the welfare law (August 22, 1996) from 
Medicaid, TANF, and SSBG. Legal immigrants entering the United 
States after August 22, 1996, are barred for 5 years from all 
benefits under these programs except emergency medical 
assistance. After 5 years, the decision as to whether legal 
immigrants may participate in Medicaid, TANF, and/or SSBG rests 
with the States, subject to a rule ``deeming'' sponsors' income 
and resources to be available to the immigrant, as discussed 
below.
     Only Alabama and Guam have indicated that they will not 
permit qualified aliens to participate in TANF; all other 
States have indicated they will make them eligible. Louisiana 
and Wyoming are the only States which have indicated they are 
barring qualified aliens from Medicaid.
     Note that the 5 year bar does not apply to refugees and 
asylees, and the State option to restrict Medicaid benefits 
does not apply to them in the same manner that it does to 
immigrants. Refugees and asylees who meet the other program 
criteria are eligible for full Medicaid benefits for 7 years 
after entering as refugees or being granted asylum, and for 
TANF and SSBG benefits for 5 years. After that time, refugees 
and asylees are subject to the same State option provision that 
applies to legal immigrants.
 Other programs
     Most qualified aliens arriving after August 22, 1996 are 
barred from most other Federal means-tested programs for 5 
years after their arrival. Their participation after that time 
is subject to sponsor-to-alien deeming, as it is for Medicaid, 
TANF, and SSBG. However, a number of programs are exempt from 
both the 5-year bar and sponsor-to-alien deeming (see table J-
11). These include:
  --Treatment under Medicaid for emergency medical conditions 
        (other than those related to an organ transplant);
  --Short-term, in-kind emergency disaster relief;
  --Assistance under the National School Lunch Act or the Child 
        Nutrition Act of 1966;
  --Immunizations against diseases and testing for and 
        treatment of symptoms of communicable diseases;
  --Foster care and adoption assistance under title IV of the 
        Social Security Act, unless the foster parent or 
        adoptive parent is an alien other than a qualified 
        alien;
  --Education assistance under the Elementary and Secondary 
        Education Act of 1965, specified titles (IV, V, IX, and 
        X) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, or specified 
        titles (III, VII, and VIII) of the Public Health 
        Service Act;
  --Benefits under the Head Start Act;
  --Benefits under the Job Training Partnership Act; and
  --Services or assistance (such as soup kitchens, crisis 
        counseling and intervention, and short-term shelters) 
        designated by the Attorney General as: (i) delivering 
        in-kind services at the community level; (ii) providing 
        assistance without individual determinations of each 
        recipient's needs; and (iii) being necessary for the 
        protection of life and safety.

      TABLE J-11.--ALIEN ELIGIBILITY PROVISIONS FOR FEDERAL BENEFITS UNDER NEW WELFARE AND IMMIGRATION LAWS     
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Qualified aliens regardless      Qualified aliens                             
           Provisions                    of entry date          entering after 8/22/96     Nonqualified aliens  
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Restricted programs.............  Food stamps; SSI, unless on  For 5 years after entry,  Most Federal public    
                                   rolls 8/22/86 or here then   Federal means-tested      benefits (with        
                                   and later disabled. At       public benefits (with     exceptions noted      
                                   State option: \1\ TANF,      exceptions noted          below).               
                                   SSBG, and Medicaid (other    below). Thereafter, the                         
                                   than emergency services      restrictions in the                             
                                   and SSI-related).            left column apply.                              
Programs excepted from            Qualified aliens here        Emergency medical         Emergency medical      
 restrictions.                     before 8/22/96 not barred    services, disaster        services, disaster    
                                   by alienage status from      relief, public health     relief, public health 
                                   programs other than those    assistance, community-    assistance, community 
                                   listed above.                level services, school    services, housing     
                                                                lunch, child nutrition,   assistance received at
                                                                Foster Care and           enactment, Social     
                                                                Adoption Assistance,      Security and Medicare 
                                                                Head Start, certain job   benefits for lawful   
                                                                training, elementary,     aliens, and school    
                                                                secondary, & higher       lunch and breakfast.  
                                                                education, and Public     Other child nutrition 
                                                                Health Service Act        and food distribution 
                                                                education assistance.     programs at State     
                                                                                          option. (Does not     
                                                                                          change law regarding  
                                                                                          public education.)    
Individuals excepted from         Refugees & asylees--7 years  Refugees and asylees (as  Nonimmigrants only for 
 restrictions.                     for SSI, Medicaid, 5 years   in left column);          contracts or licenses 
                                   for other programs;          immigrants with 40        related to their      
                                   immigrants with 40 Social    Social Security work      authorized employment,
                                   Security work quarters;      quarters; \2\ and alien   and for benefits under
                                   \2\ and alien veterans,      veterans, certain         reciprocal treaty     
                                   certain active duty          active duty personnel,    agreements.           
                                   personnel, and families.     and families.                                   
Modification of sponsor-to-alien  New deeming rules            After 5-year bar, for     Not applicable.        
 deeming.                          applicable to qualified      Federal means-tested                            
                                   aliens entering after 8/22/  programs until alien                            
                                   96 and with affidavits       naturalizes or has 40                           
                                   complying with new INA       Social Security work                            
                                   requirements--see next       quarters; \2\ with                              
                                   column.                      exceptions similar to 5-                        
                                                                year bar.                                       
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ State option begins 5 years after entry for qualified aliens entering after 8/22/96.                        
\2\ Includes quarters worked by a spouse/parent; for quarters worked after 1996, no quarter during which the    
  alien received public assistance may be counted toward the 40-quarter exception.                              
                                                                                                                
Source: Congressional Research Service.                                                                         

     Emergency services, school lunch, and community-level 
services are available for all aliens; other school nutrition 
programs may be provided to nonqualified aliens at State 
option. The so-called Attorney General's list, defining noncash 
community-level services exempt from the various prohibitions, 
was published in the Federal Register on August 30, 1996 (p. 
45985). Among other services, it includes senior nutrition 
programs, such as Meals on Wheels.

      Expanded Sponsor-to-Alien Deeming and Affidavits of Support

     The other two restrictions on alien access to public 
benefits included in the 1996 welfare and immigration laws are: 
(1) legally binding affidavits of support; and (2) sponsor-to-
alien deeming rules. As discussed below, both are expansions of 
previously existing law and practice. They have their roots in 
the public charge provision of immigration law, which has been 
a feature of United States immigration law since 1882.
 Affidavits of support
     The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) was amended in 
1996 by the addition of a new section 213A,\14\ which provides 
a statutory basis for affidavits of support and greatly extends 
their scope in a variety of ways, in part as follows:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \14\ This section was added first by Public Law 104-193, and 
subsequently amended by the immigration provisions of Public Law 104-
204, the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act, 1997.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
  --It makes them legally binding documents effective either 
        until the sponsored immigrant naturalizes or meets the 
        40-quarter work requirement;
  --It requires affidavits of all family-based immigrants and 
        employment-based immigrants coming to work for 
        relatives;
  --It requires sponsors to have an income of at least 125 
        percent of the Federal poverty level, and to agree to 
        support the sponsored immigrant at the same level; and
  --It provides that both government agencies and sponsored 
        immigrants could sue sponsors for failure to meet their 
        obligations.
 Expanded deeming rules
     A significant difference from previous law is that all the 
sponsor's income and resources and that of the sponsor's spouse 
is deemed to be available to the immigrant in determining 
financial eligibility. Coupled with the fact that government 
agencies providing benefits to sponsored immigrants are legally 
entitled to sue the sponsors, the clear intent of the new 
deeming provisions is to bar immigrants from participation in 
means-tested programs. The sponsor, rather than the Federal 
Government, is expected to be financially responsible for 
immigrants who need assistance.
     The sponsor-to-alien deeming rules have also been expanded 
in terms of duration, and the number of programs and immigrants 
covered.
  --Deeming remains in effect until the immigrant naturalizes 
        or meets the 40-quarter work requirement.
  --The new deeming rules apply to all Federal means-tested 
        programs except those expressly exempted by law (and to 
        SSI and food stamps, from which immigrants are barred). 
        The excepted programs are the same as those exempted 
        from the 5-year bar (see table J-11).
  --Deeming applies to all sponsored immigrants, a group 
        expanded by the immigration law's requirement that all 
        family-based immigrants have affidavits of support.\15\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \15\ The new deeming rules apply only to aliens who enter after 
enactment with affidavits of support that comply with the new statutory 
requirements. Sponsored aliens are not covered by them.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

            ALIEN ELIGIBILITY FOR STATE AND LOCAL ASSISTANCE

     Historically, the level of a State's expenditures for 
noncitizens has been driven primarily by the size of its alien 
population and the range of services it provides its residents 
generally. However, two sets of provisions of the 1996 welfare 
reforms have led the States to reexamine benefits for aliens. 
One set directly addresses alien eligibility for State benefits 
and potentially can reduce State expenditures. The second set 
restricts Federal benefits for aliens and indirectly may lead 
to new State funding.
     As part of restricting the access of aliens to benefits, 
the 1996 act expressly denies illegal aliens most State and 
local public benefits (elementary and secondary education is 
not among programs specifically denied) and authorizes the 
States to restrict the access of many legal aliens to these 
activities. States now are authorized to regulate the 
eligibility of legal aliens (including immigrants, 
nonimmigrants and parolees) for State and local benefits in the 
same manner (and subject to similar limitations) that Congress 
has regulated the eligibility of legal aliens for Federal 
benefits, and this State regulation may include imposing 
sponsor-to-alien deeming requirements. The constitutionality of 
these provisions--especially the ability of Congress to enhance 
State authority over legal aliens--doubtless will be litigated 
for some time. Still, unless overturned, the act has provided 
States new legal means for controlling expenditures.
     Nevertheless, the unprecedented restrictions on Federal 
benefits in the 1996 act, though eased in part by the Balanced 
Budget Act of 1997, have led many States to consider 
substituting State programs. Several factors have pushed the 
States to look at funding alien benefits. Among these factors 
are State constitutional limits on denying benefits to 
noncitizens and concern about vulnerable noncitizen 
populations.
     New perceived needs have combined with new legal 
flexibility to result in an outburst of recent legislative 
activity. Most States have long provided some type of cash 
assistance to needy individuals--under general assistance 
programs or State supplements to SSI, for example--apart from 
that provided under Federal or joint Federal-State programs. 
Provisions in the 1996 act to bar SSI for most legal aliens--a 
restriction since limited under the 1997 Balanced Budget Act--
led many States to reexamine coverage of aliens under their 
cash programs, coverage that before the 1996 act was considered 
legally mandatory. Restrictions in the 1996 act on food stamps 
for aliens, a restriction not addressed in the Balanced Budget 
Act, also has prompted State action.
     The Immigration Policy Project at the National Conference 
of State Legislatures has summarized State legislative activity 
in these areas through October 21, 1997 as follows:
 State-funded cash benefits
     Prior to the Federal reprieve in the 1997 Balanced Budget 
Act, States considered and often put in place one of three 
options in providing an SSI replacement cash benefit for 
immigrants: access to or expansion of the State's general 
assistance program, access to or expansion of the State's SSI 
supplement or disability benefit program, and creation of a new 
program. For example, Rhode Island legislation considered a new 
cash assistance program for disabled and elderly legal 
immigrant residents who were receiving State supplementary 
assistance on July 1, 1997, but would have lost eligibility for 
Federal benefits due to the Federal welfare reform law. Most 
States, however, are considering the first two methods. 
Washington has enacted legislation permitting immigrants who 
lose their SSI to apply for the State's general assistance-
unemployable program. Enacted Colorado legislation makes legal 
immigrants, regardless of date of entry, eligible for the 
State's Old Age Pension, Aid to the Blind, and Aid to the Needy 
Disabled Programs; sponsor deeming may apply. Nebraska allows 
qualified immigrants to receive aid to the aged, blind and 
disabled, regardless of their date of entry, though deeming 
applies. California would permit immigrants who lose SSI to 
continue receiving the State supplement for SSI. Illinois 
legislation allocates $10 million for an SSI replacement 
program, separate from the State's general assistance program, 
which is not administered statewide. With the restoration of 
Federal SSI benefits for a significant portion of the affected 
immigrant populations, States face new decisions regarding the 
use of the money and programs intended to replace SSI.
 Deeming
     In general, most States are expecting the new, enforceable 
affidavits of support to be reliable tools and to deem in 
accordance with the welfare reform law. This means that the 
immigrant's sponsor's income, and that of the sponsor's spouse, 
will be attributed to the immigrant in determining eligibility 
until the immigrant has achieved citizenship or 40 qualifying 
work quarters. Newly enacted laws in Arizona, California, 
Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Nebraska, Rhode Island and 
Washington include deeming provisions.
 Nutrition
     To date, eleven States have chosen to provide State-funded 
food assistance to some or all legal immigrants who will lose 
Federal food stamp eligibility due to the welfare reform law, 
either by purchasing Federal food stamps or developing State 
food benefits: California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, 
Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, 
and Washington. Many States also appropriated additional funds 
for emergency food assistance.
     Most States are providing food assistance either at a 
lower benefit level to current residents of the State or to 
selected groups of immigrants, such as children and the 
elderly. Washington, with a State history of supporting food 
programs, appropriated $65 million to purchase Federal food 
stamps for all legal immigrants made ineligible by Federal law 
at the Federal benefit level. Florida will provide about $12 
million in food stamps for immigrants 65 and older who were 
residents as of February 1, 1997. California allocated $35.6 
million to replace food stamps for some 40,000 children and 
elderly immigrants who were residing in the United States as of 
August 22, 1996. Maryland plans to spend $2.15 million on 
State-run food stamp benefits for legal immigrant children. New 
York permits counties and New York City to provide food 
assistance for individuals under 18 or over 65 years of age, 
resident as of August 22, 1996, who apply for naturalization 
within 30 days. Nebraska will provide State funded benefits to 
approximately 2,240 immigrants. Rhode Island will provide food 
stamps to immigrants resident as of August 22, 1996. The 
Governor of New Jersey approved $15 million for legal immigrant 
children, elderly and disabled who were resident as of August 
22, 1996. Minnesota is providing ``Minnesota-grown'' coupons at 
35 percent of the Federal benefit level, for those residing in 
Minnesota as of July 1, 1997; recipients must work toward 
citizenship. Massachusetts appropriated $5 million for food 
stamps to legal immigrants, with benefits expected to be 
between $15 and $24 per person per month. Benefits will 
eventually be provided via electronic benefit transfer. The 
Governor of Texas has announced a plan to provide up to $18 
million to approximately 28,000 aged and disabled immigrants. 
The average benefit will be $53 per month, and distributed via 
the State's electronic benefit transfer system.
     Cash and nutrition assistance have not been the only areas 
to receive State attention. While the restoration of SSI 
benefits under the Balanced Budget Act concomitantly restored 
Medicaid benefits for long-term residents, most newly arriving 
aliens are disqualified from Medicaid for 5 years after entry 
(after which time States have the option to make Medicaid 
available). Several States have acted to provide some medical 
benefits for these new arrivals. These States include New York; 
Connecticut; Minnesota; Nebraska; Maryland (children and 
pregnant women); Rhode Island (children and pregnant women); 
and Virginia (children).
     Also, the States clearly are aware that restrictions on 
Federal benefits for aliens terminate once the aliens become 
U.S. citizens. For example, New Jersey has allocated 
approximately $2 million, to be matched by private funds, for 
naturalization outreach programs. Florida appropriated a like 
amount for similar purposes. In California, a $5 million 
appropriation for naturalization services was line-item vetoed.

           VERIFICATION OF STATUS AND REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

     The increase in the number of programs and classes of 
aliens affected by the new welfare reform law has necessitated 
an expansion of previous procedures used for verifying alien 
eligibility for benefits. For example, the SSBG Program is now 
barred to newly arrived qualified aliens, whereas in the past 
it was not subject to any alienage restrictions. Similarly, the 
concept of qualified aliens originated with the welfare law, 
and includes noncitizens not covered by the INS database used 
by the SAVE system.
     The Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlement (SAVE) 
Program authorized by the Immigration Reform and Control Act 
(IRCA) of 1986 has been the primary means of verifying 
eligibility for many major Federal benefits. Under SAVE, 
applicants who stated that they were not citizens were required 
to have their status verified through a database of INS files. 
If this primary verification was unsuccessful, manual secondary 
verification by INS officials was conducted. Both Federal and 
State governments were critical of the time needed to complete 
secondary verifications. Because the SAVE data base was limited 
to aliens, it was also criticized as being vulnerable to 
circumvention by false citizenship claims. Reportedly, INS 
plans to have an enhanced SAVE-like system in place by February 
1998.
     The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity 
Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-193) and subsequent 
amendments in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-
33) included new verification and reporting requirements. These 
are supplemented by provisions in the Illegal Immigration 
Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996, 
immigration enforcement legislation enacted as part of the 
Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 (Public Law 
104-208).

                       Verification Requirements

  --The welfare reform law requires the Attorney General to 
        adopt regulations by February 22, 1998, to verify that 
        individuals who apply for Federal public benefits are 
        qualified aliens and eligible for assistance. As 
        amended by IIRIRA, the welfare reform law also requires 
        the Attorney General to establish fair and 
        nondiscriminatory procedures by February 22, 1998 on 
        proving citizenship when applying for a Federal public 
        benefit.
  --States that administer a program which provides a 
        restricted federally assisted benefit must have a 
        verification program that complies with the above 
        regulations within 24 months of their adoption.
  --The 1996 immigration law amended the welfare law to allow 
        nonprofit charitable organizations to provide Federal, 
        State, and local public benefits without having to 
        verify the immigration status of the recipients.
  --The 1996 immigration law amended the Social Security and 
        Higher Education Acts to require the transmittal to INS 
        of copies of documents required to verify eligibility 
        for Social Security and Higher Education assistance.
  --Public Law 105-33 authorized State and local governments to 
        verify the eligibility of individuals for State and 
        local public benefits.
  --Public Law 105-33 requires the Attorney General, within 90 
        days of its enactment, to issue interim verification 
        guidance and to adopt regulations on procedures to be 
        used by States and local governments for determining 
        whether applicants are subject to the new federally-
        imposed bars on State and local benefits--i.e., for 
        verifying that alien applicants are qualified aliens, 
        nonimmigrants, or short-term parolees.

                         Reporting Requirements

  --The welfare law requires the following entities to provide 
        INS at least 4 times annually and at INS' request the 
        name, address, and other information they have 
        regarding each individual whom they know is in the 
        United States unlawfully: (1) States receiving block 
        grants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families 
        (TANF); (2) the Commissioner of Social Security; (3) 
        States operating under agreements for the payment of 
        SSI State supplements through the Federal Government; 
        (4) the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; and 
        (5) public housing agencies operating under contracts 
        for assistance under sections 6 or 8 of the United 
        States Housing Act of 1937.
  --Separately, the welfare reform law states that no State or 
        local entity may be prohibited or in any way restricted 
        from sending to or receiving from the INS information 
        regarding an individual's immigration status.
  --The immigration law requires the Attorney General to 
        notify, not later than 180 days after the end of each 
        fiscal year, the House and Senate Judiciary Committees 
        and the Inspector General of the Department of Justice 
        on: (1) the number of public charge deportations; (2) 
        the number of sponsors determined to be indigent; and 
        (3) the number of reimbursement actions brought under 
        affidavits of support.

                      ILLEGAL ALIENS AND BENEFITS

                         Statistical Background

     Illegal aliens are those noncitizens who either entered 
the United States without having been inspected by INS (i.e., 
entered surreptitiously)--referred to as EWIs--or overstayed 
the term of their nonimmigrant visas--e.g, tourist or student 
visas. INS has estimated that the resident illegal alien 
population was 5 million as of October 1996.\16\ EWIs made up 
59 percent (2.9 million) of the total, while visa overstays 
made up the remaining 41 percent (2.1 million). The annual 
growth in the resident illegal alien population was estimated 
at 275,000.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \16\ U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, Office of Policy 
and Planning. Backgrounder: Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant 
Population Residing in the United States: October 1996. Washington, 
Jan. 1997.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
     Seven States accounted for 83 percent of the illegal 
population, led by California at 40 percent. The other States, 
in order, were Texas (14 percent), New York (11 percent), 
Florida (7 percent), Illinois (6 percent), New Jersey (3 
percent), and Arizona (2 percent). Mexico dominated the sending 
countries at 54 percent, followed by El Salvador (7 percent), 
Guatemala (3 percent), Canada (2.4 percent) and Haiti (2.1 
percent).

                          Eligibility Standards

 Federal benefits
     The 1996 welfare reform law denies most Federal benefits, 
regardless of whether they are means tested, to illegal aliens. 
The class of benefits denied is broad and covers (1) grants, 
contracts, loans, and licenses and (2) retirement, welfare, 
health, disability, housing, food, unemployment, postsecondary 
education, and similar benefits. So defined, this bar covers 
many programs whose enabling statutes do not individually make 
citizenship or immigration status a criterion for 
participation. Thus, programs that previously were not 
individually restricted--the earned income tax credit, social 
services block grants, and migrant health centers, for 
example--became unavailable to illegal aliens, unless they fall 
within the act's limited exceptions. These programmatic 
exceptions include:
 1. Treatment under Medicaid for emergency medical conditions 
        (other than those related to an organ transplant);
 2. Short-term, in-kind emergency disaster relief;
 3. Immunizations against immunizable diseases and testing for 
        and treatment of symptoms of communicable diseases;
 4. Services or assistance (such as soup kitchens, crisis 
        counseling and intervention, and short-term shelters) 
        designated by the Attorney General as: (i) delivering 
        in-kind services at the community level; (ii) providing 
        assistance without individual determinations of each 
        recipient's needs; and (iii) being necessary for the 
        protection of life and safety; and
 5. To the extent that an alien was receiving assistance on the 
        date of enactment, programs administered by the 
        Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, programs 
        under title V of the Housing Act of 1949, and 
        assistance under section 306C of the Consolidated Farm 
        and Rural Development Act (subtitle E of title V of the 
        Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility 
        Act (division C of Public Law 104-208) later 
        facilitated the removal of illegal aliens from housing 
        assistance).
     The 1996 welfare reform law also permits illegal aliens to 
receive Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance benefits 
under title II of the Social Security Act, if the benefits are 
protected by that title or by treaty or are paid under 
applications made before August 22, 1996. Separately, the act 
states that individuals who are eligible for free public 
education benefits under State and local law shall remain 
eligible to receive school lunch and school breakfast benefits. 
(The act itself does not address a State's obligation to grant 
all aliens equal access to education under the Supreme Court's 
decision in Plyler v. Doe.) Beyond these nutrition benefits, 
the act neither prohibits nor requires a State to provide 
illegal aliens other benefits funded under the National School 
Lunch Act of the Child Nutrition Act or under the Emergency 
Food Assistance Act, section 4 of the Agriculture and Consumer 
Protection Act, or the Food Distribution Program on Indian 
Reservations under the Food Stamp Act.
 State benefits
     Unlike earlier Federal law, the 1996 welfare reforms 
expressly bar illegal aliens from most State- and locally-
funded benefits. The restrictions on these benefits parallel 
the restrictions on Federal benefits. Illegal aliens are 
generally barred from State and local government contracts, 
licenses, grants, loans, and assistance. Exceptions are made 
for:
 1. Treatment for emergency conditions (other than those 
        related to an organ transplant);
 2. Short-term, in-kind emergency disaster relief;
 3. Immunization against immunizable diseases and testing for 
        and treatment of symptoms of communicable diseases; and
 4. Services or assistance (such as soup kitchens, crisis 
        counseling and intervention, and short-term shelters) 
        designated by the Attorney General as: (i) delivering 
        in-kind services at the community level; (ii) providing 
        assistance without individual determinations of each 
        recipient's needs; and (iii) being necessary for the 
        protection of life and safety.
     Also, the restrictions on State and local benefits do not 
apply to activities that are funded in part by Federal funds; 
these activities are regulated under the 1996 law as Federal 
benefits. Furthermore, the law states that nothing in it is to 
be construed as addressing eligibility for basic public 
education. Finally, the 1996 law allows the States, through 
enactment of new State laws, to provide illegal aliens with 
State and local benefits that otherwise are restricted.
     Despite the federally-imposed bar and the State 
flexibility provided by the 1996 law, the States still may be 
required to expend a significant amount of State funds for 
illegal aliens. Public elementary and secondary education for 
illegal aliens remains compelled by judicial decision, and 
payment for emergency medical services for illegal aliens 
remains compelled by Federal law. Meanwhile, certain other 
costs attributable to illegal aliens, such as criminal justice 
costs, remain compelled by the continued presence of illegal 
aliens.
     The degree of required State spending on illegal aliens is 
illustrated in a 1994 report by the Urban Institute (Clark, et 
al., 1994). There, the authors estimated that seven States with 
large populations of illegal aliens--California, Florida, 
Texas, New York, Illinois, Arizona, and New Jersey--spent the 
following amounts in fiscal year 1993 in providing three types 
of services to illegal aliens within their borders: $3.1 
billion for public education; $471 million for incarceration; 
and $445 million for emergency medical care under Medicaid.

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