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According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s (FAIR) new 2017 report, illegal immigrants, and their children, cost American taxpayers $135 billion annually—$8,075 per alien per year.
These costs are partially offset by taxes collected from illegals, which total $19 billion. Taken together, the net cost of illegal immigrants to American taxpayers is $116 billion annually.
While high, this number is certainly not an outlier: a recent study by the Heritage Foundation found that low-skilled immigrants (including those here illegally) cost Americans trillions over the course of their lifetimes, and my own research conducted for the National Economics Editorial found that illegal immigration costs America over $140 billion annually. Suffice it to say that illegal immigration has real economic consequences—despite what the left tells you.
The FAIR report also provides details as to how said money is spent. Unsurprisingly, state and local governments bear the majority (two-thirds) of the costs, spending $88 billion annually. The federal government gets off relatively easy, spending just $45 billion—ironic, given the problem is of their creation.
Still more ironically, the federal government receives the lion’s share of taxes paid by illegal aliens ($15.4 billion), although this does not cover even their costs. State and local governments receive just $3.5 billion in annual taxes from illegal immigrants.
The single greatest cost is education at $46 billion annually; behind this are $29 billion in medical care, $23 billion for law enforcement, and $9 billion in welfare. And, of course, the report does not include the value of remittances sent by illegal aliens, which would push the net fiscal loss higher by some $38 billion annually.
It is also worth mentioning that the State of California spends the most on illegal immigration—illegal immigration costs California $30.3 billion annually, which works out to some 17.7 percent of the state’s budget. Texas is a distant second, although the costs are likewise significant: illegal immigration costs the State of Texas $12.4 billion annually, or roughly 10 percent of the state’s budget. In third place is New York, which spends $7.4 billion on illegal immigration.
The data could not be clearer: illegal immigration costs American taxpayers big-time. But taxes are only part of the story: illegal immigration hurts America’s economy in other ways: it distorts the labor market, causing wage stagnation and unemployment, and kills our economic vitality.