U.S. Not Offsetting Costs of Illegals, Report Says

Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, December 7, 2007

Illegal aliens are a net drain on state and local governments, according to a new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that found the federal government does not do enough to help offset those costs.

“The tax revenues that unauthorized immigrants generate for state and local governments do not offset the total cost of services provided to those immigrants,” CBO said in its review, released yesterday.

The CBO report, which looked at a series of state analyses, said it’s difficult to calculate the exact cost, but noted the overall total net loss “is most likely modest.” Still, the report said, that varies state-by-state, with some states saying they get more from taxes paid by illegal aliens than they spend on services for them.

Those costs come in three main areas, the CBO found: education, health care and law enforcement.

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From the other side of the debate, Steven A. Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies, said while the costs from illegal aliens may be modest, that ignores the costs of their citizen children, who he said must be counted because if their parents weren’t here illegally the children wouldn’t be either.

Mr. Camarota said the cost of educating illegal alien students runs about $15 billion a year, but that figure doubles if the legal children of illegal aliens are included. He also said the studies don’t calculate illegal aliens’ impact as users of roads and other infrastructure.

Also yesterday, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano signed an agreement committing Arizona to issue enhanced driver’s licenses that meet the stricter requirements for international travel, and committing eventually to meet the requirements of Real ID.

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[Editor’s Note: A PDF of “The Impact of Unauthorized Immigrants on the Budgets of State and Local Governments,” can be read or downloaded here.]

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