Hune: Cut Benefits to Illegals

Christopher Behnan, Livingston Daily (Michigan), November 19, 2010

Halting social benefits to undocumented immigrants should be the first step toward eliminating Michigan’s $1.6 billion structural deficit, state Sen.-elect Joe Hune said.

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State fiscal analysts said there aren’t reliable figures on the number of illegal immigrants who actually receive social benefits, or how much that has cost the state, however.

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Hune said there are more than 100,000 illegal aliens in Michigan, and that all are potentially collecting taxpayer-funded benefits, including health-care services and welfare.

The incoming senator said he didn’t know how many of the 100,000-plus people are collecting the benefits, or how much the state could save by cutting off the benefits, however.

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He said his immigration bill would be “a big component” of reigning in state spending, however, citing the Michigan League for Human Services and Center for Immigration Studies as sources for his information.

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Most social benefits, including food assistance, health-care payments and welfare, are mostly–if not entirely–funded and dictated by federal spending guidelines, state analysts said.

In other words, state legislation, in almost all cases, wouldn’t supersede federal spending rules for the programs.

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In September, the Michigan League for Human Services issued a report that stated 1.4 percent of the state’s total population are undocumented immigrants. That compares with undocumented aliens making up 5.8 percent of Arizona’s population.

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Nationally, undocumented immigrants contribute $8.5 billion annually to Medicare and Social Security–the country’s largest social benefit programs–the report states.

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