Just Because It's Trending Doesn't Mean It's True
Hoax Alert

Fake News: Illegal Immigrants Do NOT Get 43% Of All Food Stamps, 95% of Los Angeles Murder Warrants, 66% Of California Births, 60% Of HUD Housing

  • by: Alan Duke
  • (Thu, 19 Sep 2019 18:33:18 Z)

Do illegal immigrants get 43 percent of all food stamp benefits and are they suspects in 95 percent of all Los Angeles murders? Are 41 percent of them on welfare and are 66 percent of all births in California to undocumented mothers who get free healthcare? Is 60 percent of the housing subsidized by HUD occupied by illegal immigrants? Are 39 percent of students in California illegal immigrants? Are half of the gang members in the United States undocumented residents? The answer is NO to all of those questions: These claims are listed on a meme that has been spreading across social media, but a close examination of facts show that each one is fiction.

The false meme was shared a post (archived here) published on September 18, 2019 under the title "Today's illegals are coming here for different reasons than the massive immigration into this country around the turn of the century.......Today too many only come for the payouts......Meanwhile our homeless suffer and we have too many more that need the same benefits." It read:

Facts!
1. 43% of all FOOD Stamps are Given to Illegals
2. 95% of Warrants issued for Murder in Los Angeles are for Illegals
3. Less than 2% of Illegals are picking crops but 41% are on Welfare
4. More than 66% of ALL births in California are to Illegals on Medi-Cal
5. 60% of all HUD occupied properties in the US are Illegals
6. 39% of All California Students are Illegals
7. 75% of Los Angeles Most Wanted Criminals are Illegals
8. 50% of All Gang Members are Illegals
9. U.S. Taxpayers are Footing the Bill for ALL

Screenshot of https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2919780634717499&set=p.2919780634717499&type=3&theater

This is what social media users saw:

Let's dig into each claim.

1. 43% of all FOOD Stamps are Given to Illegals

Food Stamps are given to needy American families through SNAP -- the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The demographic group getting the largest percentage of SNAP benefits are White American families, which account for 40 percent of those getting food stamps, according to a HuffPo article titled "Who Gets Food Stamps? White People."

SNAP is for legal residents only. You cannot apply for SNAP without a Social Security number. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs SNAP, explains this on their website:

Everyone in the household that is applying for benefits must have or apply for a Social Security number. A household member that does not have a Social Security number can choose not to apply for benefits and be treated as a non-applicant. Even though non-applicants are ineligible for SNAP benefits, their income and resources are still counted to determine eligibility for the remaining household members. If you are otherwise eligible for SNAP benefits, you can get them for a short time while you are waiting for your Social Security number

2. 95% of Warrants issued for Murder in Los Angeles are for Illegals

Of the 282 murders investigated in Los Angeles in 2017, it is estimated that 63 percent were gang related, with gang members most often being the killers and the killed. Los Angeles Police reported that 104 of the 2017 murders were committed by Hispanic gang members and 95 of their victims were Hispanic. While the Central American-based MS-13 gang is a major player in Los Angeles, it is not the only deadly group. But even if all of the Hispanic gang members who killed illegally in the country, the share of murders would not be 95 percent. The LAPD's annual homicide report, which you can scroll through below, said that of 171 identified suspects, 52 percent were of Hispanic descent, 40 percent were of Black descent, 6 percent were White, and less than 2 percent were Asian.

2017 LA Homicide Report by Alan Duke on Scribd

3. Less than 2% of Illegals are picking crops but 41% are on Welfare

This supposes that picking crops in the fields is the best place for undocumented immigrants and it implies that it is wrong that just 2 percent wind up there. In fact, a large number of the illegal immigrants do migrate to farms for work. Here's what the New York Times reports in a Dece,ber 11, 2018 story titled "8 Million People Are Working Illegally in the U.S. Here's Why That's Unlikely to Change":

Unauthorized immigrants represent about 24 percent of all workers in farming, fishing and forestry and 15 percent of those employed in construction, which is the industry that uses the most undocumented immigrant workers overall, at 1.35 million.

Does this leave 41 percent to collect welfare? No, there is no program entitled "welfare." The word typically references government benefits to the poor, including food stamps (SNAP), subsidized housing (HUD), and Medicaid (healthcare.) We already debunk the claim about food stamps and the HUD claim will be discussed in the 5th point. This brings us to the 4th.

4. More than 66% of ALL births in California are to Illegals on Medi-Cal

The Center for Immigration Studies, a non-partisan think that promotes a "vision which seeks fewer immigrants but a warmer welcome for those admitted," estimated in a report titled "Births to Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the U.S." that 297,000 babies were born to undocumented mothers in the United States in 2014. About 198,000 of those deliveries were paid for by taxpayers at a cost of about $2.4 billion, CIS estimated.

There were 502,879 babies born in California in 2014. Sixty-six percent of that number is 331,900. Even if all of the publicly-funded births of babies to illegal immigrants were in California (and they were not), it would make up less than 40 percent of the total -- not 66 percent.

5. 60% of all HUD occupied properties in the US are Illegals

The phrase "HUD occupied properties" apparently references housing that is subsidized by the federal government's Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD does own foreclosed properties, which it then resells, but those are not subsidized. An illegal immigrant cannot be on a lease subsidized by HUD, but is allowed to live in the home if another family member who is legal is on the lease. HUD estimates that there are 31,320 undocumented people in so-called "mixed" families in subsidized homes. This data was included in a recent proposal (which is embedded below) through which the Trump administration is changing the rule to prohibit them from occupying the home with their legal relatives.

HUD counts 9,573,064 people living in HUD subsidized homes and just 31,320 are illegal immigrants. This is a mere .325 percent of the total, which is exactly 59.675 percent less than 60 percent.

A household that has at least one eligible household member, as well as other ineligible household members is called a "mixed" household. Mixed households are currently permitted to live in housing covered by the Section 214 restrictions. However, the amount of assistance they receive is prorated. The rent is adjusted based on the number of household members, the total household income, the number of eligible members of the household and the type of rent subsidy in the covered unit.

According to data in HUD databases (see table below), there are approximately 25,000 mixed households having at least one ineligible member.6 Among these mixed households, 71 percent are eligible members, of which 73 percent are children (0-17 years old), 25 percent are adult (18-61 years old), and 2 percent are elderly (62 and over); while 29 percent are ineligible members, of which 93 percent are adult, 5 percent are children, and 2 percent are elderly. Also, the data show that majority of mixed households have 3 eligible members and 1 ineligible member. Geographically, 72 percent of mixed families are concentrated in three states-- California (37 percent), Texas (23 percent), and New York (12 percent)--while the rest is scattered around the country with 3 percent or less mixed families per state.

HUD-2019-0044-0002 by Alan Duke on Scribd

6. 39% of All California Students are Illegals


There are 6,186,278 students in California's public schools, grades K-12, according to the California Department of Education. There are about 2,200,000 illegal immigrants residing in California, according to the Pew Research Center. If every undocumented resident in California was between the ages of 5 and 12 and they enrolled in a public school, they would be 35 percent of the students. But they are not. Pew reports that 13.3% of California's students have undocumented parents. Many of those students may have been born in the United States, which means they are citizens. The meme's claim is way off.

7. 75% of Los Angeles Most Wanted Criminals are Illegals

This is a claim that we have not been able to fully address. One issue is Los Angeles Police do not usually announce the immigration status of a wanted suspect. We will leave this claim unsettled for now, but you can review the Most Wanted list here.

8. 50% of All Gang Members are Illegals

The Justice Department estimates there are 850,000 gang members in about 33,000 violent street gangs, motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs criminally active in the U.S. today. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions estimated that the La Mara Salvatrucha, or "MS-13," which is believed to be the largest immigrant gang in the United States, has 10,000 members in the country. The Justice Department estimates there are 850,000 gang members in about 33,000 violent street gangs, motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs are criminally active in the U.S. today. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions estimated that the La Mara Salvatrucha, or "MS-13," which is believed to be the largest immigrant gang in the U.S., has 10,000 members in the country. For the meme claim that half of all gang members are illegal to be true, it would mean there are 425,000 illegal immigrants involved in gangs. That would make MS-13, which is supposed to be the largest immigrant gang, seem very small with just 10,000 member.

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About the author:

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after ending a 26-year career with CNN, where he mainly covered entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosted a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" and hosted the podcast series "Stan Lee's World: His Real Life Battle with Heroes & Villains." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

Read more about or contact Alan Duke

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