Posted on February 11, 2024

How Much Do Illegal Immigrants Cost the U.S.?

Alexander Fabino, Newsweek, February 2, 2024

An ongoing border crisis that saw 5,000 illegal aliens being released into the United States per day in December of last year is a microcosm of a much larger issue as President Joe Biden aims to recapture the White House in a crucial election year.

The issue is a $150.7 billion one, shared between federal and state governments, and that’s just one year.

Since the inauguration of President Biden on January 20, 2021, over 3.3 million illegal immigrants have been released into the U.S., according to the Committee on the Judiciary and Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement, which is costing taxpayers billions at the federal and state levels.

A report issued by the committee in mid-January says that the Biden administration has, among other things, “dismantled interior immigration enforcement to allow illegal aliens to remain in the country,” which is contributing to a growing cost borne by U.S. taxpayers. A separate study issued by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) quantified the monetary side of that burden.


The FAIR study, released in March last year, documented the financial toll of illegal immigration on the U.S., taking into account factors like emergency medical care, incarcerating illegal aliens in local jails, and federal budgets that pay out billions in welfare every year, pegging the net annual cost at $150.7 billion.

Arriving at the figure by subtracting the estimated $32 billion of tax contributions made by illegal immigrants, FAIR said the economic impact would have otherwise been $182 billion. In 2017, the U.S. spent roughly $116 billion on illegal immigration, suggesting that the problem is a growing one.

To contextualize the number, the $150.7 billion spent on illegal immigration last year is more than the total gross domestic product (GDP) of Mississippi ($146.7 billion in 2023), New Mexico ($131.5 billion), Idaho ($119.8 billion), and is more than the GDP’s Wyoming and Vermont combined, at $50.74 billion and $43.38 billion, respectively.

With illegal immigration now costing $150.7 billion annually, the burden inevitably trickles down to the taxpayer. Individually, the FAIR study found that each illegal alien or their U.S.-born child costs the U.S. $8,776 annually.