Illegal immigration to the U.S. costs federal, state and local taxpayers a staggering net cost of $116 billion a year – an increase of some $16 billion compared to previous estimates – according to a new study released by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The study is the most comprehensive to date on the cost to federal, state and local taxpayers of the nation’s 12.5 million illegal immigrants and their 4.2 million citizen children.
The report, “The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers,” examines the cost of illegal immigration through a detailed analysis of federal, state and local programs that are available to the nation’s illegal immigrant population, their U.S.-born children, or accessed via fraud. The study tallies the impact on education, medical, justice/enforcement, welfare and other government programs. The report notes that the $116 billion cost of illegal immigration falls on state and local taxpayers disproportionately – by a ratio of roughly 2 to 1 – with state and local expenditures totaling $88.9 billion and Federal expenditures totaling $45.8 billion, with only approximately $19 billion recouped in taxes.
Taxes Paid Inadequate
The report also tallies the estimated taxes paid by the estimated 7 million illegal immigrants in the workforce, estimating that 35 percent of them are operating in the underground economy and noting that these workers have no payroll taxes deducted from their earnings. The study finds that taxes paid by illegal immigrants are five times as likely to wind up in federal coffers than in state and local treasuries. Total taxes paid to the federal government by illegal immigrants totaled $15.4 billion, with state and local governments receiving approximately $3.5 billion, even though these entities bear a disproportionate share of the burden.
Other key findings:
The staggering total costs of illegal immigrants and their children outweigh the taxes paid to federal and state governments by a ratio of roughly 7 to 1, with costs at nearly $135 billion compared to tax revenues at nearly $19 billion.
All told, the nearly $135 billion paid out by federal and state and local taxpayers to cover the cost of the presence of 12.5 million illegal aliens and their 4.2 million citizen children amounts to approximately $8,075 per illegal alien and citizen child prior to taxes paid, or $6,940 per person after taxes are paid.
On the federal level, medical ($17.14 billion) is by far the highest cost, with law enforcement coming second ($13.15 billion) and general government services ($8 billion) third.
At the state and local level, education ($44.4 billion) was by far the largest expense, followed by general public services ($18.5 billion) and medical ($12.1 billion).
The study also includes cost and tax revenue estimates per state. The top three states based on total cost to state taxpayers for illegal immigrants and their children: California ($23 billion); Texas ($10.9 billion), and New York ($7.5 billion).
“Clearly, the cost of doing nothing to stop illegal immigration is far too high,” said FAIR executive director Dan Stein.
“President Trump has laid out a comprehensive strategy to regain control of illegal immigration and bring down these costs,” said Stein.
“Building the wall, enhancing interior enforcement and mandating national E-Verify will go a long way in bringing these ridiculously high costs under control,” he said.