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Rise in public benefits to children of illegal immigrants in L.A. County has supervisor 'very concerned'

Welfare payments to children of illegal immigrants in Los Angeles County increased in July to $52 million, prompting renewed calls from one county supervisor to rein in public benefits to such families.

The payments, made to illegal immigrants for their U.S. citizen children, included $30 million in food stamps and $22 million from the CalWORKS welfare program, according to Los Angeles County figures released Friday by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.

The new figure represents an increase of $3.7 million from July 2009 and makes up 23% of all county welfare and food stamp assistance, according to county records.

Last year, welfare and food stamp issuances totaled nearly $570 million, an amount projected to exceed $600 million this year. In addition, county taxpayers spend $550 million in public safety -- mostly for jail costs -- and nearly $500 million for healthcare for illegal immigrants, Antonovich said.

“The supervisor is very concerned,” said Antonovich spokesman Tony Bell. “He believes we have an economic catastrophe on our hands.”

Shirley Christensen of the county Department of Public Social Services said the number of households with illegal immigrant parents and U.S. citizen children receiving welfare increased by 7% from January to June of this year.

“With the economy the way it is, a lot of people have had to avail themselves of programs they may not have needed before,” Christensen said. “Everyone is taking a hit, including undocumented immigrants.”

Amid continued economic gloom, debate has intensified over the public cost of providing benefits to illegal immigrants and their U.S. citizen children. In recent months, calls have grown for a constitutional amendment that would effectively deny citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants, whose numbers have increased from 2.7 million in 2003 to 4 million in 2008, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

At present, U.S. citizenship is automatically granted to children born on U.S. soil. Last month, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced he might introduce a constitutional amendment to deny citizenship to children of illegal immigrants. Antonovich and several legal scholars, however, argue that a federal statute is sufficient to change the law.

But even some immigration hawks are wary of such a move. Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington-based research organization that supports immigration restrictions, said ending birthright citizenship would hurt children for their parents' misdeeds, require new federal registration systems and create other problems. The ultimate solution, he said, is to continue driving down illegal immigration with tough enforcement.

-- Teresa Watanabe

Comments () | Archives (221)

What happned to my comment...you dont like hearing the truth.

Banks that got government money should be using e-Verify for people to open up any accounts with Banks in the USA. E-Verify should be used to determine if parents are allowed benefits. The attempt here is to put up a barrier.

I am amused by the comments made by Supervisor Antonovich. This is a guy who has been on the public payroll all his working life. This is also someone who balked at stopping County pension spiking back in the 90s. And, he still uses a driver at taxpayer's expense.

What a two face.

what the HELL is wrong with you people?? joe is doing his part but you(us) mexi lovers give them a RAISE!!?? you gotta quit the bleeding heart tree hugging stuff!! the state is BROKE and you give the illegals a raise?? what, did the price of tacos go up?? quit smoking crack and run them out!!! jeez, there really is no hope for the late great state of cal. i quit...

Hold on. I thought illegal immigrants gave more than they took from the economy. What is this all about?

great, more of my money is going to pay for illegal immigrants when I can't hardly pay my own bills


I should had crossed the border illegally long ago
and have a bunch of kids, rather than wait 10 years
to come here legally and support with my tax dollars
the children of illegal inmigrants. No wonder republicans
are so fed up with this. I am a liberal democratic and
getting sick of this too.

In Los Angeles County, where we are on the verge of bankruptcy, it is our priviledge to pay 10's of millions of dollars for the upbringing of children of "undocumented immigrants." If spending all this money to provide for the children of "undocumented immigrants" troubles you than you must be a racist.

Just a thought... how can you drive down immigration with "tough enforcement" when you're paying their way?

The root of the issue is it that we reward millions of immigrants who are here illegally giving them incentive to make another bad decision which is have a kid they can't afford. If we weren't paying for their illegal and irresponsible behavior we probably wouldn't have to focus on border patrol quite so much.

We might also put an end to hospital er's closing due to illegal immigrants running our medical system into the ground. Our jails wouldn't be quite so over crowded. Our school's wouldn't waste so much funding on trying to teach illegal kids english. The list goes on....

As long as the USA continues to provide welfare to undocumented immigrants, things won't change. It should be so easy for the US Immigration office to be able to recognize when a child is given birth in USA soil by an undocumented immigrant for the sole purpose of taking advantage the law. Send the parents back to where they came from and it should be their responsibility to take their child with them.

Can we please just enforce our immigration laws and stop people from braking the law. I dont care who they are or where they come from please Mr Feds just enforce the law.If I could hide behind my children and not pay my taxes or brake every law in the book I would be rich.Meg Whitman for Governor !

How sick. While countless elderly citizens are homeless and neglected the antiAmerican social agencies not only blatantly continue to serve onlawful foreign invaders but increase benefits to them while the state goes broke.
How is that for a hate crime!

This needs to stop now!!!!

I say "Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies" is an IDIOT

Mexico is laughing at us and our government. If you dont think so, watch one of their news channels.

Country of immigrants yes country of a bunch of Freeloaders NO..Wake up there is a lot of hard-working immigrants who make something good of themselves.. the rest of the freeloaders should be hunted down and deported

Half a billion dollars on illegals. And people are mad with AZ... We let our own people go and keep paying out these benefits to illegals, then we penalize the rest of the state workers by making them pick-up the slack from being understaffed. Perfect.

I feel very sorry for the children of illegal immigrants. I personally know of one young woman who came here illegally from South America with two children and now has given birth to two more children in three years and is pregnant again. She is on assistance and perhaps her thinking and that of the man she is with is that they need the money from another baby--that is short-sighted. Or, perhaps they are not thinking at all. As illegals, they live in a terrible living situation that is hard on the kids, but they can't move or complain to the police.
I believe the only answer is to toughen up enforcement so that people won't see any benefit to bringing children into bad circumstances that may lead to future tragedy.

This is ridiculous. I struggle to pay for health insurance for my family and I have to pay taxes for medical services for illegal aliens? How do they qualify for food stamps just because their kid is a citizen? So if I have several illegal aliens living at my house, I can get food stamps because the household income is too small for the number of people there? Illegals should NOT count toward any food stamp calculation!!!!!!!!!!

these children are US citizens. I dont see the issue if all US citizens are eligible for assistance if we need it. Welfare reform in general needs to be reviewed and modified, but as long as welfare stands, they are entitled what our country offers.

“He believes we have an economic catastrophe on our hands.”

Really, you don't say? Where do they find these geniuses? And these are the clowns getting paid six figure salaries to come up with these conclusions? They need to clean house and put some competent people in there to run this state.

"Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington-based research organization that supports immigration restrictions, said ending birthright citizenship would hurt children for their parents' misdeeds"

So we would rather reward the parent's for their own misdeeds?

"Very concerned?"

hah, he should be.

"Last month, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced he might introduce a constitutional amendment to deny citizenship to children of illegal immigrants.."

If this happens, I will switch my affiliation from Independent to Republican and vote for him. No question.

'Very concerned' . That's it? Just 'very concerned'? No wonder we're broke if that's all the anger that can be squeezed out of a public official over this travesty. I'll bet we'd get a completely different response if the news was, say, Rush Limbaugh was moving to LA. Or, George Bush was giving a speech in LA. Or something like that. But when it's just more of the same bankrupting social programs in this state, then the reaction is , 'Oh well, who cares.'

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