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Posted: 8/25/2004 12:01:35 PM EDT
Cost of Illegal Immigration

Study Says Illegal Migrants Cost U.S. $10 Billion a Year

Analysis by think tank also concludes that a program to legalize the undocumented would nearly triple that figure.

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar
Times Staff Writer

August 25, 2004, 7:57 AM PDT

WASHINGTON -- Illegal immigrants cost the federal government more than $10 billion a year, and a program to legalize the undocumented would nearly triple that figure, a study released today concludes.

The analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies, which opposes efforts to legalize an estimated 8 million to 12 million migrants, comes as Republicans are bracing for a fight over immigration at their convention next week in New York.

Some Republican conservatives are pushing for language in the party platform that strongly opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants. But business-oriented Republicans want to significantly loosen immigration restrictions.

In the middle is President Bush, who has proposed a massive guest worker program granting temporary legal status to the undocumented, of whom a majority are Mexicans.

"The fundamental problem is that the modern American economy is based on skills, and that makes it very difficult to bring unskilled workers in and not sock taxpayers with a huge cost," said political scientist Steven A. Camarota, the study's author.

"The fiscal impact of a legalization program needs to be an important consideration," he added.

Other immigration researchers challenged some of the study's assumptions about what illegal immigrants cost the government.

Based on Census data, the report compared households headed by undocumented immigrants with those headed by citizens and legal residents. Federal benefits for U.S.-born children of the undocumented were counted as a cost of illegal migration.

The study included some findings that run counter to stereotypes. For example, it concluded that illegal immigrants do not constitute a significant drain on welfare programs, receiving much less in social services than do citizens and legal residents.

However, it found that the undocumented also pay nearly 75% less per household in federal taxes, on average. Some work off the books, but the majority who pay taxes are low-wage workers with little income tax liability.

"The primary reason they create a fiscal deficit is their low education levels and resulting low incomes and tax payments, not their…heavy use of most social services," the study said. "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 study found that federal programs for the elderly clearly benefit from illegal immigration.

Social Security and Medicare reap a $7 billion annual windfall from payroll taxes paid by undocumented workers. That accounts for about 4% of the total annual surplus in the two programs. But the balance sheet may eventually shift in the other direction. Under a recent agreement, Mexican retirees will be able to claim credit for Social Security taxes paid while working in the United States.

Legalizing the undocumented would bring them out of the underground economy and increase the amount they pay into Treasury coffers. But it could well make them eligible for more government benefits.

The study estimated that paying for added benefits would swamp any increase in tax collections, increasing the net cost to the federal government to $29 billion a year.

However, a leading immigration researcher challenged the fine print behind the report's assumptions.

Jeffrey Passel, a demographer at the Urban Institute think tank, said a significant share of the costs attributed to illegal immigrants represent general expenses on domestic programs. The government would incur these costs for such things as building roads and paying bureaucrats' salaries with or without the presence of undocumented workers.

"Most of that money is not money that would be saved if you could magically make these people disappear," said Passel.

Copyright © 2004, The Los Angeles Times
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 12:04:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/25/2004 12:31:43 PM EDT by AR15fan]
They cost the state of California alone 5 Billion a year. Note the article says it cost the *feds* 10 Billion. The states pay much more.
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 12:04:54 PM EDT
Add onto that the costs to state & local gov'ts in the form of educatinion and medical treatment, illegal/uncapped immigration is a bad idea all around.
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 12:08:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/25/2004 12:09:20 PM EDT by nchapa]
and those mother fuckers dont even say thanks when we deliver there babies, cure there cancer and put them through school.
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 12:32:49 PM EDT
Throw 'em ALL out on thier asses!

Link Posted: 8/25/2004 12:33:20 PM EDT
Throw 'em ALL out on their asses!

Link Posted: 8/25/2004 12:34:13 PM EDT

Originally Posted By lonewolf223:
Throw 'em ALL out on thier asses!

EDIT: thier s/b their (SPELLING COUNTS )
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 12:37:11 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 12:42:42 PM EDT
the posted article is talking about FEDERAL costs. That doesnt include California's 5 Billion in state costs.
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 12:45:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/25/2004 12:46:10 PM EDT by nchapa]
You can thank Brownsville, Texas for allowing illegals to go to school and have everything paid for including school supplies. This went all the way to the supreme court and they said that any school aged kid has the right to use our public schools no matter immigration status.

Link Posted: 8/25/2004 12:45:27 PM EDT
I posted this awhile with the breakdown of Schooling their kids,the Healthcare and Incarceration costs.
The only people that care are guys like us.

Kerry's Vietnam service is important but Bush wont even touch this issue.

Link Posted: 8/25/2004 3:15:23 PM EDT
Actually the Cost is probably somewhere around $20 Billion

Then there is the 13 to 14 Billion Dollars that get sent back to Mexico by Illegal Workers.
That's more money than Foreign Investors invest in Mexico's economy.

Another Figure 25% of Federal Prisoners are Illegal.
I would venture to say that the Local and State facilities have similar percentages of Illegals.
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 8:12:36 PM EDT
Time to shut down that damn border one way or another.
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 8:18:26 PM EDT

Actually the Cost is probably somewhere around $20 Billion

I suspect even $20 billion is way low.
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