I generally don't like the idea of welfare, but part of why is because, like minimum wages, it is set up to certian thresholds: make < $30,000.. must make more than $7.50.. etc.
Would welfare be so bad, so hindering of productivity and conducive to illegal immigration, were it put like this:
Every month, the people in the bottom 5% of all people by level of income is calculated. Anyone below that level recieves a one-time check that month for the difference between his income and the highest wage anyone in that group earned.
1000 people in the area; bottom 5% is 50 people. One of these 50 earned $40 this month. He gets nothing more. However, the other 49 people get enough money so it is like they earned $40; and, the probable majority who earned nothing get $40.
So, (1) the cutoff is unclear and changes from month to month, (2) if 10% if the group does not work, no checks go out, (3) as everyone is more productive, the whole group is lifted upward.
Is welfare really that conductive to illegal immigration? Do Mexicans really come to the US saying "I'm going to risk my life and family to go to the US so I can work a poor farm job and collect welfare?" I know that a lot of legal immigrants to Canada do that. But for the US? Eh...
Sure, if you like, drop that benefit. It is not vital.
Is it? Well, are more people starving in the US or in counties that have high emmigration thereto, would be the research question, I suppose. But I think yeah, strongly.