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Chinese immigrants making false welfare claims

People waiting in line to receive social benefits. Photo:

The recent news that two Chinese women drove a BMW to the Employment & Social Services in Toronto to get grocery gift cards, broadcast by a Canadian TV station, has turned people’s attention to the social welfare frauds in western countries.

Although not every Chinese takes advantage of the loopholes in the social welfare system, there is no denying the fact that welfare frauds are common among the Chinese community in North America. This creates a situation where many in desperate need cannot receive necessary assistance.

The US social welfare system is considered as an honor system, which means the government, to a larger extent, treats all the information an applicant provides to be true. Instead of feeling ashamed, some Chinese people consider it a well-deserved right of minority groups to enjoy welfare plans. They think they should not miss the opportunity to get benefits from the US government. However, such a mindset is viewed with disdain by some other minority groups, such as the Latin American community.

Based on the 1990 statistics from the US Census Bureau,  University of California Professor Norman Matloff conducted a survey and found that 55% of elderly Chinese immigrants live on social welfare and the figure continues to rise.

The Emergency Feeding Program in Chinatown of New York is targeted at the homeless and those who cannot get food through other channels, but Manager Juan Delacruz said at least 80% of those coming for food were Chinese people who dressed well.

KRON- 4 TV in San Francisco has broadcast a video clip of elderly Chinese receiving food in front of a church and then trying to sell it later. They dump canned food because it is difficult to sell.

Experts say Chinese immigrants don’t observe the rules of application for social benefits, and they are trying to steal taxpayers’ money by false claims. Norman Matloff said most of the Chinese people who receive social benefits belong to the middle class and their incomes are above the national average.

Despite the loopholes in the US social welfare system, the swindlers will pay a high legal price once caught. According to World Daily, 13 Chinese Americans were arrested by the Department of Homeland Security for falsely claiming milk tickets and then cashing them. They earned $30 million, which has made it the largest milk ticket fraud in the US in recent years.

There are many welfare plans in the US. According to the CATO Institute, false claims of benefits are common in the Chinese community. For example, some new immigrants who don’t want to work choose to live on unemployment compensation; some old people transfer their property and money under the names of their children and apply for government benefits; some even use food tickets to gamble. Although false claims of social benefits are not confined to the Chinese community, these acts indeed have negative effects on the image of the Chinese community in the US.

(Edited by Billie Feng)

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