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The High Cost of Illegal Immigration to America

With the illegal immigration debate raging here in Utah, not to mention--America, I have been combing reports, both governmental and private, to determine the true cost to America and the state,s if illegal immigrants are given a pass and the floodgates opened wide.

I, for one, believe the disastrous results will forever damage what is left of this great nation I love so dearly. It is a fight I have not given up, nor will I ever. And really, it has not been an easy battle. I am not a woman without compassion, but I am also a woman who believes in the rule of law, which illegal immigrants do not. I have been embroiled in conversation on my Facebook page that seem to be circular in argument. However, one cannot dispute the costs associated with illegal immigration to America. Between the costs to education, healthcare, entitlements, criminal justice, and the loss of American jobs it is a problem that has to be addressed and simply cannot be kicked down the road any longer.

The Center for Immigration Studies has done an incredible study on the costs of illegal immigration at both the state and federal levels. I have dived in and am devouring this thing, plus a couple of others. Here is the executive summary of that report:

The High Cost of Cheap Labor: Illegal Immigration and the Federal Budget

This study is one of the first to estimate the total impact of illegal immigration on the federal budget. Most previous studies have focused on the state and local level and have examined only costs or tax payments, but not both. Based on Census Bureau data, this study finds that, when all taxes paid (direct and indirect) and all costs are considered, illegal households created a net fiscal deficit at the federal level of more than $10 billion in 2002. We also estimate that, if there was an amnesty for illegal aliens, the net fiscal deficit would grow to nearly $29 billion.

Among the findings:
  • Households headed by illegal aliens imposed more than $26.3 billion in costs on the federal government in 2002 and paid only $16 billion in taxes, creating a net fiscal deficit of almost $10.4 billion, or $2,700 per illegal household.
  • Among the largest costs are Medicaid ($2.5 billion); treatment for the uninsured ($2.2 billion); food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches ($1.9 billion); the federal prison and court systems ($1.6 billion); and federal aid to schools ($1.4 billion).
  • With nearly two-thirds of illegal aliens lacking a high school degree, the primary reason they create a fiscal deficit is their low education levels and resulting low incomes and tax payments, not their legal status or heavy use of most social services.
  • On average, the costs that illegal households impose on federal coffers are less than half that of other households, but their tax payments are only one-fourth that of other households.
  • Many of the costs associated with illegals are due to their American-born children, who are awarded U.S. citizenship at birth. Thus, greater efforts at barring illegals from federal programs will not reduce costs because their citizen children can continue to access them.
  • If illegal aliens were given amnesty and began to pay taxes and use services like households headed by legal immigrants with the same education levels, the estimated annual net fiscal deficit would increase from $2,700 per household to nearly $7,700, for a total net cost of $29 billion.
  • Costs increase dramatically because unskilled immigrants with legal status -- what most illegal aliens would become -- can access government programs, but still tend to make very modest tax payments.
  • Although legalization would increase average tax payments by 77 percent, average costs would rise by 118 percent.
  • The fact that legal immigrants with few years of schooling are a large fiscal drain does not mean that legal immigrants overall are a net drain -- many legal immigrants are highly skilled.
  • The vast majority of illegals hold jobs. Thus the fiscal deficit they create for the federal government is not the result of an unwillingness to work.
  • The results of this study are consistent with a 1997 study by the National Research Council, which also found that immigrants' education level is a key determinant of their fiscal impact.
to read the rest of this report, which is excellent, please go here.

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.
The High Cost of Illegal Immigration to America The High Cost of Illegal Immigration to America Reviewed by Candace Salima on Monday, March 21, 2011 Rating: 5