A friends parents immigrated to the US with nothing, not even speaking English. His father held and worked 3 jobs simultaneously, as a delivery truck driver in the mornings, as a valet during the day, and as a dishwasher at night.
He and wife scrimped and saved and he eventually opened his own small takeout restaurant, but with four kids, they remained below the poverty line and qualified for free lunches in high school. Today, the siblings are all college graduates (with the help of financial aid), have advanced degrees, are working professionals in the engineering and medical fields, and together pay hundreds of thousands in taxes every year. This is all within one generation. Meanwhile, there are families of all colors and creeds who have lived in the US for generations, who subsist on state and federal aid.
So, next time you hear someone maligning immigrants as those who dine off the public assistance trough, think about my friends family. A few do not define all.