Clear all

191 results found

reorder grid_view

Immigrant and Native Consumption of Means-Tested Welfare and Entitlement Benefits in 2019

March 30, 2022

Total government spending on the welfare state amounted to about $2.5 trillion in 2019. The federal government spent roughly $2.3 trillion in that year, an amount equal to approximately 51 percent of all federal outlays. About $1.7 trillion of federal expenditures went to Social Security and Medicare, and the other roughly $534 billion funded means‐tested welfare benefits. American states spent an additional $244 billion on means‐tested welfare programs in 2019. Based on data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, we find that immigrants consume 28 percent less welfare and entitlement benefits than native‐born Americans on a per capita basis. By comparison, immigrants consumed 21 percent less welfare and entitlement benefits in 2016 on a per capita basis. From 2016 to 2019, the underconsumption of welfare by immigrants relative to native‐born Americans widened by about 7 percentage points.

The Case against COVID-19 Pandemic Migration Restrictions

February 1, 2022

The possibility that free migration could exacerbate the spread of COVID-19 has caused many nations to enact severe restrictions on both international migration and domestic freedom of movement. Unfortunately, these restrictions have done little to stop the spread of the disease while inflicting enormous harm on hundreds of thousands of innocent people. In some respects, they even make the spread of disease worse. In the long run, migration restrictions also curtail the scientific and medical innovation that we need to protect against future pandemics and other health threats.This publication focuses primarily on restrictions on international movement by people seeking to take up long‐term residence in a new country rather than short‐term travelers, such as tourists or people on business trips. However, some of the points made also apply to the latter. This publication also does not examine the other nonpharmaceutical interventions that governments have enacted that may have reduced COVID‐19's spread or death toll, many of which may be correlated with different types of travel or migration restrictions. It will likely be years—if ever—before scholars understand how nonpharmaceutical interventions of all kinds, including migration and travel restrictions, affected COVID-19.

The Most Common Arguments Against Immigration and Why They’re Wrong

September 27, 2021

From "immigrants are going to take American jobs" to "they're going to commit crimes" or "they won't learn English," we've heard it all. This report by the CATO Institute's Alex Nowrasteh contains the 15 most common arguments against immigration and Nowrasteh's responses to them. From economics to crime, terrorism, cultural assimilation, and the voting habits of immigrants, he considers the most common arguments against immigration and rejects them using sound reasoning and evidence.

A Brief History of U.S. Immigration Policy from the Colonial Period to the Present Day

August 3, 2021

More than 86 million people have legally immigrated to the United States between 1783 and 2019. The legal regime under which they immigrated has changed radically over that time; the politics surrounding those changes have remained contentious, and past immigration policies inform the current political debate. Conflicting visions and piecemeal legislation have left the United States with an archaic and barely coherent immigration system with outdated policy objectives that is primarily controlled by the executive branch of government. We review the history of U.S. immigration policy, including the legal controversies that empowered Congress with its immigration plenary power and the historical policy decisions that still guide the U.S. immigration system, in order to contextualize the current political debate over immigration at the beginning of the Biden administration.

E Pluribus Unum: Findings from the Cato Institute 2021 Immigration and Identity National Survey

April 27, 2021

This report outlines findings of the Cato Institute 2021 Immigration and Identity National Survey. The survey of 2,600 U.S. adults seeks to explore and examine why Americans support or oppose a more open immigration regime.

Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice Outcomes: Lessons from California’s Recent Reforms

February 17, 2021

The recent protests and civil unrest that marked the death of George Floyd and other African Americans in police custody gave voice to real and significant racial disparities in our criminal justice system. In California, like the rest of the nation, these disparities—especially those between African Americans and whites—are large and widespread. Encouragingly, some recent reforms appear to be making headway in reducing racial and ethnic differences in arrest, booking, and incarceration rates.

Incarcerated Immigrants in 2016: Their Numbers, Demographics, and Countries of Origin

June 4, 2018

This brief uses American Community Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau to analyze incarcerated immigrants according to their citizenship and legal status for 2016. The data show that all immigrants—legal and illegal—are less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans relative to their shares of the population.

Immigration and the Welfare State: Immigrant and Native Use Rates and Benefit Levels for Means-Tested Welfare and Entitlement Programs

May 10, 2018

Overall, immigrants are less likely to consume welfare benefits and, when they do, they generally consume a lower dollar value of benefits than native-born Americans. This appears contrary to the study conducted by the CIS (Publication 3), but Cato claims its work is more accurate because it examines individuals with immigration status, while CIS measures welfare use by households headed by immigrants (which often contain multiple native-born Americans).

Do Immigration Enforcement Programs Reduce Crime? Evidence from the 287(g) Program in North Carolina

April 11, 2018

This paper examines 287(g)'s implementation across multiple counties in North Carolina and identifies its impact on local crime rates and police clearance rates by exploiting time variation in regional immigration enforcement trends. The 287(g) program did not affect the crime rate in North Carolina or police clearance rates but it did boost the number of assaults against police officers.

Criminal Immigrants in Texas: Illegal Immigrant Conviction and Arrest Rates for Homicide, Sexual Assault, Larceny, and Other Crimes

February 26, 2018

This brief uses Texas Department of Public Safety data to measure the conviction and arrest rates of illegal immigrants by crime. In Texas in 2015, the criminal conviction and arrest rates for immigrants were well below those of native-born Americans. Moreover, the conviction and arrest rates for illegal immigrants were lower than those for native-born Americans. This result holds for most crimes.

A New Estimate of the Cost of Reversing DACA

February 15, 2018

Using data on the age and educational outcomes of nearly 3,000 college students who are DACA recipients this study forecasts their income in the ensuing decade to estimate the total economic and fiscal impact over the next decade of allowing this cohort to remain in the country and legally pursue employment.

Staring at the Sun: An Inquiry into Compulsory Campaign Finance Donor Disclosure Laws

December 14, 2017

Since the Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, proponents of stricter campaign finance regulation have increasingly prescribed "disclosure" as an antidote to "dark money" in politics. Advocates of more extensive donor disclosure laws typically invoke Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis's famous maxim that "sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants," but they seldom acknowledge the harm of excessive sunlight. This paper urges a more critical and balanced look at the issue, especially concerning disclosure requirements for independent political speech (i.e., speech that is not coordinated with candidates). Of primary focus is the Court's jurisprudence in this area, which is often invoked to support additional compulsory donor disclosure laws but lacks coherence, especially as it applies to independent speech. Even assuming that the Court's jurisprudence in this area remains sound, many arguments being advanced for compulsory donor disclosure laws are untethered from the justifications the Court has articulated, rendering them especially susceptible to challenge in litigation. This paper concludes with recommendations on how, and how not, to enact disclosure laws. Specifically, disclosure laws should be changed to make sure they allow citizens to keep tabs on public officials rather than enable officials to oversee citizens. Current disclosure thresholds should be raised significantly. Disclosure requirements for independent speech should be limited significantly, given that such mandates do not serve traditional justifications for disclosure.