United States is an issue not only in the recurring debate over
immigration reform, but also in areas that pertain to the
general public, such as welfare, public health and safety, education,
labor, and military service. According to the 2011 American
Community Survey the number of foreign-born inhabitants is estimated
at 40,377,860 million. These numbers have increased slightly over the
last couple of years.
The ability of the alien population, particularly unauthorized
aliens, to engage in activities and obtain public benefits has been a
source of significant controversy at the federal, state, and local levels.
Over the past decades, the benefits and privileges accorded to aliens
in the United States have fluctuated. At least until recently, the
trend at the federal level has been to limit the benefits accorded to
non-citizens. In one example of this trend to limit benefits,
pursuant to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity
Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA, P.L. 104-193), noncitizens were
made ineligible for most federal forms of assistance. State and local
practice has not been uniform, with some states and localities
limiting and others expanding the privileges accorded to aliens on
matters such as welfare eligibility, access to higher education, and
eligibility for a driver’s license. Whether these trends will
continue or reverse remains unclear.
Date of Report: November 29, 2012
Number of Pages: 228 Order Number: C-12007 Price: $79.95
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