The swelling population of illegal immigrants and their kids is costing American taxpayers $135 billion a year, the highest ever, driven by free medical care, education and a huge law enforcement bill, according to the the most authoritative report on the issue yet.
And despite claims from pro-illegal immigration advocates that the aliens pay significant off-setting taxes back to federal, state and local treasuries, the Federation for American Immigration Reform report tallied just $19 billion, making the final hit to taxpayers about $116 billion.
State and local governments are getting ravaged by the costs, at over $88 billion. The federal government, by comparison, is getting off easy at $45 billion in costs for illegals.
President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and conservatives in Congress are moving aggressively to deal with illegals, especially those with long criminal records. But their effort is being fought by courts and some 300 so-called "sanctuary communities" that refuse to work with federal law enforcement.
The added burden on taxpayers and the unfairness to those who have applied to come into the United States through legal channels is also driving the administration's immigration crackdown.
The report, titled "The Fiscal Burden Of Illegal Immigration on U.S. Taxpayers," is the most comprehensive cost tally from FAIR. It said that the costs have jumped about $3 billion in four years and will continue to surge unless illegal immigration is stopped. It was provided in advance exclusively to Secrets.
"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 added.
Over 68 often shocking pages, FAIR documents the average $8,075 in state, local and federal spending for each of the of 12.5 million illegal immigrants and their 4.2 million citizen children.
Broadly, the costs include $29 billion in medical care, $23 billion for law enforcement, $9 billion in welfare, $46 billion for education.
Just consider the cost of teaching an illegal alien child who doesn't speak English. FAIR estimates an average cost of over $12,000 a year, and that can reach $25,000 in New York. Add to that welfare, health care, school lunches, and the per student price soars.
In state costs alone, California leads the list at $23 billion per year, followed by Texas at $11 billion, and New York at $7.4 billion.
And it also documents the taxes paid and how they don't come close to offsetting the costs. What's more, FAIR noted that 35 percent of the illegal population operate in an underground economy hidden from tax collectors. And worse, employers hire illegals and either pay them cheaply or under the table.
"The United States recoups only about 14 percent of the amount expended annually on illegal aliens. If the same jobs held by illegal aliens were filled by legal workers, at the prevailing market wage, it may safely be presumed that federal, state and local governments would receive higher tax payments," said FAIR.
Key findings pulled from the report:
- 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.
- 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 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).
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org