Patchwork Policies: State Assistance for Immigrants under Welfare Reform

Research Report

Patchwork Policies: State Assistance for Immigrants under Welfare Reform

Abstract

Despite significant federal benefit restorations and considerable assistance provided by states, the social safety net for immigrants remains weaker than before welfare reform. Although many states stepped in to help immigrants, few fully replaced lost federal benefits and state variation in available safety net services has increased. This report, based on a survey of state officials in all 50 states, found that most states that created substitute programs placed conditions on program eligibility rendering many immigrants ineligible, often targeted only specific groups of immigrants, or provided lower benefits than the federal programs which they replaced. The paper ranks states according to the availability of their safety net to immigrants.

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