By: Caroline May
Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your new country can do for you.
“Welcome to USA.gov,” a website maintained by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), bills itself as the “primary gateway for new immigrants to find basic information on how to settle in the United States” — featuring a prominent section for new immigrants about how to access government benefits.
“Depending on your immigration status, length of time in the United States, and income, you may be eligible for some federal benefit programs,” the Web page reads.
“Government assistance programs can be critically important to the well-being of some immigrants and their families. Frequently, however, there is a lack of information about how to access such benefits. Benefit programs can be complicated and you may be given misleading information about how they operate.”
The DHS page offers links to government websites that explain how to access benefits including food stamps, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, Medicare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the “official website with information on all available federal benefit programs,” with a nonworking link to Benefits.gov.
WelcometoUSA.gov also boasts to immigrants that “[f]ree public education for children is one reason many immigrants come to the United States.”
Though the website appears to advertise benefits, new immigrants are not necessarily eligible for the benefits displayed on the website; enrollment in SSI and TANF may also serve as impediments to future immigration status adjustments.
USCIS spokesman Bill Wright told The Daily Caller that the site is not intended to advise individuals on their eligibility.
“The website seeks to improve access to federal government information on the Internet by consolidating information into helpful categories and highlight new resources available to immigrants and the organizations that serve them,” Wright explained in an email.