The Washington Examiner published Part II of our California in Crisis series today, and already I am getting emails asking why illegal immigration has not been mentioned, and will not be mentioned, in the series. Long story short, illegal immigration isn’t the problem.
It is true that California has the largest Hispanic population in the nation, clocking in at a little over 14 million. But as a percentage of the entire population, California is tied with Texas for second in the nation (behind New Mexico). According to the latest Census estimates, Hispanics make up exactly 38.1 percent of both California’s and Texas’ total populations.
Texas, however, has done a much better job of assimilating Hispanics than California has. A language other than English is spoken in more than 40 percent of all California homes. That number is just 34 percent in Texas. Hispanics own almost 21 percent of all businesses in Texas. That number is just 16 percent in California.
But there is one thing California is great at: getting immigrants hooked on welfare. California is home to just 10 percent of the entire U.S. population but also has one third of its total welfare recipients. California’s population is just 50 percent larger than Texas, but its welfare case load is ten times as large. That dependency culture gets passed to California immigrants as well.
While just 1.9 percent of all Texans are on welfare, 4.1 percent of all Californians are. The numbers are even worse for the foreign-born, non-U.S. citizen population. In Texas, just 2.1 percent of all foreign-born, non-U.S. citizens are on welfare. California has more than triple that percentage of foreign-born, non-U.S. citizens on welfare, at 6.6. percent.
California does not have an illegal immigrant problem. It has a welfare problem.