Illegal Immigrants Eligible for Extensive Services and Benefits in the US

The ongoing migrant crisis has resulted in a significant increase in the number of illegal immigrants entering the United States. In fiscal year 2023, there were 2.4 million migrant crossings, and since 2021, over 7 million have entered illegally. Upon arrival, migrants who are not apprehended by Border Patrol agents are processed and often released into the U.S., given a notice to appear at an immigration court at a later date. Due to the extensive backlog in the courts, these appearances are typically scheduled years into the future.

Illegal immigrants face challenges due to their lack of legal work authorization and limited resources. While they are ineligible for most federal benefits, they can receive emergency medical treatment and nutrition assistance through certain programs. Additionally, they may be eligible for benefits on behalf of their US citizen children.

At the border, migrants in custody receive shelter, meals, and essential medical care. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) assist migrants with hotel accommodations and transportation. The federal government provides funding to NGOs and communities receiving migrants through the Shelter and Services Program. Additionally, the Case Management Pilot Program offers mental health services, legal aid, and other support to those facing deportation.

Upon arrival at their destinations, migrants have access to varying levels of support. Some cities provide shelter and migrant-specific programs. Denver offers housing assistance, education, and job training. New York City provides prepaid debit cards for food and baby supplies, and one-way plane tickets. California and Washington, D.C. offer health coverage to illegal immigrants. Oregon and Virginia are considering expanding state-funded health insurance to illegal immigrant children.

Critics argue that these services act as a pull factor for migrants and place a financial burden on taxpayers. The Biden administration’s proposed immigration reform bill, which failed to pass, would have provided a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants and expanded their eligibility for benefits. Despite Republican opposition, the Biden administration continues to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform to address the challenges posed by the influx of migrants.

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