AP FACT CHECK: Trump spreads false claims on immigrant aid
Published 7:54 am Thursday, November 29, 2018
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is spreading a false claim from supporters that people who are in the United States illegally receive more in federal assistance than the average American gets in Social Security benefits.
Everything about the tweet he passed on to his 56 million listed Twitter followers Tuesday is wrong.
TRUMP’s retweet: “Illegals can get up to $3,874 a month under Federal Assistance program. Our social security checks are on average $1200 a month. RT (retweet) if you agree: If you weren’t born in the United States, you should receive $0 assistance.”
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THE FACTS: Wrong country, wrong numbers, wrong description of legal status of the recipients. Besides that, immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally do not qualify for most federal benefits, even when they’re paying taxes, and those with legal status make up a small portion of those who use public benefits.
The $3,874 refers to a payment made in Canada, not the U.S., to a legally admitted family of refugees. It was largely a one-time resettlement payment under Canada’s refugee program, not monthly assistance in perpetuity, the fact-checking site Snopes found a year ago in debunking a Facebook post that misrepresented Canada’s policy. A document cited in the Facebook post, showing aid for food, transportation and other basics needs, applied to a family of five.
Apart from confusing Canada with the United States, the tweet distributed by the president misstated how much Americans get from Social Security on average — $1,419 a month for retired workers, not $1,200.