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Journal Article

Welfare Reform and Immigrant Participation in Welfare Programs

George J. Borjas
The International Migration Review
Vol. 36, No. 4, Host Societies and the Reception of Immigrants: Institutions, Markets and Policies (Winter, 2002), pp. 1093-1123
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4149493
Page Count: 31
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Welfare Reform and Immigrant Participation in Welfare Programs
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Abstract

This article examines the impact of the 1996 welfare reform legislation on welfare use in immigrant households. Although the data indicate that the welfare participation rate of immigrants declined relative to that of natives at the national level, this national trend is entirely attributable to the trends in welfare participation in California. Immigrants living in California experienced a precipitous drop in their welfare participation rate (relative to natives). Immigrants living outside California experienced roughly the same decline in participation rates as natives. The potential impact of welfare reform on immigrants residing outside California was neutralized because many state governments responded to the federal legislation by offering state-funded programs to their immigrant populations and because the immigrants themselves responded by becoming naturalized citizens. The very steep decline of immigrant welfare participation in California is harder to understand, but could be a by-product of the changed political and social environment following the enactment of Proposition 187.

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