Welfare benefits for the children of illegal immigrants cost America’s largest county more than $600 million last year, according to a local official keeping tabs on the cost.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich released new statistics this week showing social spending for those families in his county rose to $53 million in November, putting the county government on track to spend more than $600 million on related costs for the year–up from $570 million in 2009.
Antonovich arrived at the estimate by factoring in the cost of food stamps and welfare-style benefits through a state program known as CalWORKS. Combined with public safety costs and health care costs, the official claimed the “total cost for illegal immigrants to county taxpayers” was more than $1.6 billion in 2010.
“Not including the hundreds of millions of dollars for education,” he said in a statement.
Antonovich acknowledges that the children whose benefits he’s focusing on are U.S.-born. But he argues that the money is collected by the illegal immigrant parents, putting a painful burden on taxpayers, including those who are legal immigrants.
“The problem is illegal immigration. . . . Their parents evidently immigrated here in order to get on social services,” Antonovich spokesman Tony Bell said. “We can no longer afford to be HMO to the world.”