Illegal Immigration – The $113 Billion Dollar Drain on the American Taxpayer

A study released by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimates that illegal immigration now costs federal and local taxpayers $113 billion a year. The report, The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on U.S. Taxpayers, is the most comprehensive analysis of how much the estimated 13 million illegal aliens and their U.S.-born children cost the federal, state and local governments.



The cost estimates are based on an extensive analysis of federal, state and local spending data. The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on U.S. Taxpayers examines dozens of government programs that are available to illegal aliens and their U.S.-born children, both legally and fraudulently. The report provides detailed analysis of the impact of illegal immigration on education, health care, law enforcement and justice, public assistance, and other government programs.

The report also accounts for taxes paid by illegal aliens about $13 billion a year, resulting in a net cost to taxpayers of about $100 billion. However, the study notes that government at all levels would likely have realized significantly greater revenues if jobs held by illegal aliens had been filled by legal U.S. residents instead.

Federal spending on illegal aliens amounts to $29 billion, finds Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on U.S. Taxpayers. The lion’s share of the costs of illegal immigration is borne by state and local taxpayers an estimated $84.2 billion. In 18 states, expenditures on illegal aliens exceeded the size of those states’ budget deficits in FY 2009.

Among the key findings of The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on U.S. Taxpayers:

  • The $113 billion in outlays for services and benefits to illegal aliens and their families represents an average cost to native-headed households of $1,117 a year. Because the burdens of illegal immigration are not evenly distributed, the costs are much higher in states with large illegal alien populations.
  • Education for the children of illegal aliens represents the single largest public expenditure at an annual cost of $52 billion. Nearly all of that cost is absorbed by state and local governments.
  • The federal government recoups about one-third of its share of the costs of illegal immigration in the form of taxes collected. States, which bear a much greater share of the costs, recoup a mere 5 percent of their expenditures from taxes paid by illegal aliens.
  • Granting amnesty to illegal aliens, as President Obama and others propose, would not significantly increase tax revenues generated by current illegal aliens. However, over time, amnesty would dramatically increase public costs as newly-legalized aliens become eligible for all means-tested government programs.
  • Arizona’s annual cost of illegal immigration is $2.5 billion.

The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on U.S. Taxpayers provides a definitive response to the question of whether illegal aliens are a net benefit or a net drain on government coffers,” stated Dan Stein president of FAIR. “The report examines virtually every federal, state and local government program to determine the impact of illegal immigration on the bottom line. That bottom line $113 billion a year, and growing makes our nation’s failure to control illegal immigration one of the largest preventable burdens borne by American taxpayers.”

“If political leaders in Washington and state capitals want to understand why the American public is demanding enforcement of our immigration laws, The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on U.S. Taxpayers, provides 113 billion good reasons,” Stein concluded.

Read the report.

25 Comments

  1. TerryW says:

    There are pretty huge ethical issues with your cute little chip plan.

    Not only is forced surgery pretty barbaric, and akin to tagging animals, but you’d either have to create some huge electronic fence along the entire border, and the oceans, in order to monitor it, unless you make it GPS, which means that even if they return to being law abiding citizens in their own company, America will be spying o ntheir location in perpetuity.

    Not only that, you don’t think that with how desperate they are to get into the US sometimes, they wouldn’t go to some chop-shop to get it removed? Then, the harder you make it to remove, the more likely some one will die during the attempt. Same goes for the flu-chip genius below.

    How are you going to feel when a bunch of people who are just looking for a better life (wrong or right) start dying because of your little tag project.

    Also, speaking as a fellow spoiled Westerner… keep in mind we were born here by luck. The prosperity in America and Canada is the result of generations before us. We have the potential to MAINTAIN it, sure, but it was pure LUCK we got the opportunity in the first place.

    I’m not saying unchecked immigration should be allowed, or that illegal immigrants shouldn’t be stopped, or deported. I’m saying that it’s a complicated issue that isn’t about felons, criminals, or parasites and to treat each and every one of them like dirt is pretty.

    Just be thankful you were born on THIS side of the fence. (Well, most of you. I’m sure some were born elsewhere, into good families with money, and got educated, and used that as their justification for immigrating, but that’s another discussion!)

  2. NomiS says:

    Keep in mind the Democratic Party sees those illegal aliens as potential votes down the road. That would mean the Democratic Party would have a smashing lead if they could snag them. Walla… amnesty, the dream act and more. The Republicans were thinking the same way in a milder form, but finally threw it in. Accepting that idea means you are walking away from a massive number of American Voters, and at this point.. perhaps they saw it as risky.

    There is a second element.

    The economists are saying the way to a healthy economy is found if the population continuously expands. That means we essentially throw the environmental efforts out the window and go for big populations regardless of the costs. The Real Estate people are absolutely overjoyed with the idea, and push it hard. But suddenly we also realize Mexico is such a place.. constantly growing population and no where to send those folks. We discover India and China are also such places and while India doesn’t care. China is desperately, and very courageously, attempting to control population by government policy of allowing each family to have one child. I thoroughly believe in God, and I adamantly do not believe God put us here to destroy earth with to many people.
    =======================
    We have very big issues out there the people need to solve. Not half baked idiots in Washington. We are not electing these people to tell us what to do.. we want them to do what WE tell THEM to do which is exactly how a democracy works. Nor do I want Congress to sneak these items through in the middle of the night in an emergency session no one knew about.

    Not a lot of people know this.. but we have had very good government in times when the population was not expanding. We don’t need an expanding population to achieve a good economy.

    Ahh…. but we do need good government, and at this point, we don’t have that.

  3. Rose L says:

    This situation is not easy on both sides. Have you taken a minute to consider the other side, the cost of the suffering of “illegal” entirely-human persons, who for different circumstances ended up in the US, many in circumstances beyond their control, such as the case with the thousands of minors. Have you considered the cost of not being able to pursue an education, be useful in the United States, the place they grew up thinking was their country. What about the depriving of political opinion, since they cannot vote anywhere. What about the suffering of never seeing their dying grandma again because if they leave their “country-home” they will never come back to it again, perhaps this for you is not worth it, but it is for them. It has cost them endless tears and pain. Please, have some mercy, broaden your heart.
    We have a problem, so instead of covering it up or merely analyzing, let’s find an answer with the problem of the millions of immigrants who are living in non-proper human circumstances in the United States. I bet they can help the economy in manyways if they were given a chance. Give them a chance, Someone did to your ancestors.

  4. CB says:

    @Rosa,
    I have no sympathy for those who come here and break our laws. Yes, the day you entered our country illegally, you violated the laws of this great nation.

    Go home, see your Grandmother, stop feeling sorry for yourself. Fix your own country so that we are not on overload any longer. The days of the open door, open heart are over. The excessive illegal immigration has created a burden so great that we can not accept it any longer.
    Go back to the country you cry for….

  5. Sandy says:

    As far as I’m concerned, unless you are Native American, Your all illegal immigrants! ……..Illegal Immigrants are NOT the only problem with the economy……… There needs to be more Love and compassion in this world! ………Until people start getting along we will be in the mess were in! Sign of the times. It will all be over soon.

  6. Robert Tonsing says:

    The report cited is produced by FAIR, or Federation for Immigration Reform. This group is an advocacy group, in other words, they are not fair at all. Every report they produce is intended to support their point of view, so you have to take the numbers they produce with a heavy dose of salt.

    Here is a non-opinionated report by a non-advocacy news reporting organization, Colorado Public News:

    http://www.cpt12.org/news/index.php/mother-of-four-facing-deportation-after-traffic-stop-in-arapahoe-county/

  7. Dex says:

    Hey, Robert Tonsing, how is that article not “opinionated”, as you say?!? You contributed to it, therefore it must contain your opinion…and is opinionated! Alos, and I quote, “Using fake ID is necessary for an illegal immigrant to live, they say.” Isn’t using a fake ID AGAINST THE LAW?!? Idiot……

  8. Richard says:

    I live in Arizona and Illegal immigration is something that actually pisses me off. You have your own country STAY THERE! I would NEVER leave the USA no matter how bad it may be. Even if we were invaded, i wouldnt leave.

  9. Cheryl says:

    SOMEONE PLEASE ANSWER THIS QUESTION FOR ME!!!! What is it about the word “illegal” do people not understand?? I’m 53 years old and I have never broken the law (not even a parking ticket). Why is it OK for illegals to break the law as illegal aliens, but I’m expected to obey the law? I understand poverty. I’ve lived it and have spent my life in and out of poverty or just a step ahead of it. I was never told by anyone that it was justified to steal,lie,cheat or break the law in order to better my circumstances. I never asked the US government (taxpayers)for anything. The Illegals need to go back to where they came from and work to improve their lives in their own country instead of mooching off of us!

  10. justme says:

    I’m no American, maybe that’s my problem, the reason why I don’t understand how one can think: My life will improve if I throw out all strangers.
    People who leave their own country are really desperate. They tried to improve their country, gain their life in their own country but is sometimes still impossible. And it is the duty of everyone who had more luck to help them instead of making them responsible for every trouble in ones life.
    (Sorry for the bad grammar, but… I’m no American)

  11. mikezana says:

    Immigrants cannot claim any $113 billion maybe keeping them in this country is better for all of us seeing as how it is partly the reason why we get more money than we claim on income taxes.

  12. Lydia H says:

    Dear Richard: I cannot believe that this was your argument. Of course you are not contemplating leaving the United States, we have freedoms and rights here that most countries can only dream of having. You have no idea what it is like for some people in other countries. Remember these people are human and aren’t moving here just to spite you in Arizona, but because it can be a matter of life and death. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t do whatever was necessary to save yourself and your family from starvation. And I don’t forsee you, or anyone else, giving up their US citizenship to go live under the drug cartel in Latin America.

  13. mickeye1011 says:

    @justme

    I am not American either but I went through the LEGAL procedure to be able to come in the U.S. to have a decent job and rely on my own earnings instead of depending to the government. This is not all about “throwing the strangers”, it is all about improving the lives of the people. How can an illegal immigrants sleeps at night knowing that every tax payer in the country pays for almost their expenditures. What about the citizen and the legal residents of this country, are we not allowed to live the way we want to? Or to pay lower taxes or have enough high paying jobs. If we don’t do something to prevent illegal immigration in this country, soon U.S. will be just like the country illegal immigrants came from. :(

  14. Richard B says:

    If we give amnesty to illegal aliens it will only cause more illegals to try to come to the United States because they will think that we give anybody citizenship even people who BREAK THE LAW to get into the country, and i cant stand that they use things that are their to help CITIZENS of the United States to live here, and i think that every company that hires illegal immigrants should be chardged with harboring illegal aliens in Fedral court and forced to fire everyone who works their that is not a citizen.

  15. Albert says:

    Why not make becoming a citizen a harder process than what it is now and see how many mexican citizens actually want a better life. If they really want like they say a better life they will really strive in saving enough money and do anything it takes to become an american citizen the right way.

  16. Kelsie says:

    As has been said before, it doesn’t matter that these immigrants are leaving their countries due to socioeconomic status or persecution. What matters is that a) they are breaking the laws of a country that is not even their’s and b) they are bypassing what so many other people from their home country struggled through to become a citizen.
    They are not special. They must go through that same process.
    I do have sympathy for their situations, but as Cheryl said just because someone in the US is poor doesn’t grant them the right to go steal what they need to live.

  17. The Dream Act says it all! The ILEGALS are living the American Dream, and THE AMERICAN CITIZENS TAXs are to make their dreams come true.

  18. Jacob says:

    The American Citizen – The 3.7 Trillion Drain on the American Taxpayer

    Oh wait, Illegals pay more in taxes proportionately than the average American Citizen. I find It incredibly humorous that this is still true when you take in count the falsified number given on this site. Fact Check.org ran the math on your buddy FAIR, and it seems that most of their numbers were falsified.

  19. fred says:

    you guys sound like nazis and fyi illigal imigrants pay more taxes than the average american

  20. Kim says:

    Well..I think this numbers are not true…America need illegal people and they pay for taxes…cause they want to be there and they want to serve the country..

  21. john says:

    I say send them back to were they came from heck if they can pay $ 3,000 to $8,000 dollars to get someone to get them here they can live a good life there for a few years and make more money.If they get in the US and the police or border police find them send them back if they come back don’t lock them up shoot there butt I know it sounds and is bad but something has to be done or $113 billion will be $400 billion and the US will be just like the third world they came from.I don’t want my tax dollars going to them so they can get free health care,food,a place to live,and have babies so they get more money free and not pay taxes like I do hell the US is bad enough without them here we sure don’t need more here.I know we can not just shoot them but if the Government is spending that much of the tax payers money why not spend it on things to keep them out like on a lot more Border Police and mine fields around the Border just make it were they will die if they try to come across.I hate to be saying this and I don’t want a human to die just to come here but just look at how much of that money could and should go to paying off our bills and helping people that are disabled or someone that has worked 35 to 40 years and only draw $ 1,200 a month or less or help the people that want to work and pay there bills and taxes that have worked for years and lost there jobs because they can get someone to do it cheaper and not have to pay there share of taxes like they do us.I own my own Auto Body Repair Shop and I fix wrecked cars for a living and I have had some come up to the shop and pay $ 2,500 to paint there car in cash or have them come up with someone they hit and pay a lot of money to fix the persons car they hit because they don’t have Insurance because they don’t have a SSN number and I’m just sick of paying taxes that are not helping out the people that need it that are here the right way or it going to pay down what the US owes and I pay a lot in taxes every year I mean I have to send a check every few months because I can’t come up with it all at the end of the year.I paid $ 43,000 or so last year in taxes and this year I know it will be more now that it’s all has changed.Sorry so long but this is something that needs to be fixed NOW not latter we can’t keep paying for all there shit and they set back and have babies just to get more money it’s just bullcrap and I want it to STOP NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. bob says:

    im always amazed at ignorance of some people. once again “indians” or sibero americans are not native ! they too are immigrants .they migrated from asia i.e. modern day mongolia, tibet.

  23. bob says:

    no human trafficking , no to modern day slavery, no to exploitation. if you suspect someone of hiring illegal immigrants notify authorities immediately ! persons who come to the usa undocumented cannot demand their rights due to fear of deportation.

  24. Reab says:

    TerryW…spoken like a true liberal apologist. The luck of the draw, good or bad, does not make illegal entry into a foreign, sovereign nation ok, just because you don’t like the station that you were born into in life. Everybody has the chance to do things the right, and legal way…like millions before them have done. If anyone feels that they should be allowed to bypass the rules, do things their own way, then, as criminals, start demanding what they want, then their reward ought to be immediate deportation, and execution if they ever try to enter the country again. Apologists like you are the downfall of America.

  25. Taxpayer says:

    The solution to illegal immigration is simple. If it does in fact cost taxpayers x amount of dollars to fund illegals then simply spend that amount on policing the social systems that they illegally collect from. Also, confiscate the assets of any business that hires illegals and sell the assets to the highest bidder at auction, but be sure to have a comprehensive system in place to verify the status of any prospective worker. Then businesses won’t risk hiring illegals. So, once we’ve done away with employment and government handouts for illegals presto! There won’t be any more illegal immigration.

    I don’t think that anyone that I’ve read is against immigration, just illegal immigration. Plus if you pay a fair wage then people will apply to do the work, no matter what it is. This is economics 101. As it is now, illegals are taken advantage of by being underpaid for the work that they do, and no one here legally will be able to do the same job for the pay of an illegal because we don’t want to live 5 families to a 3 bedroom house etc. and can’t get the government help that illegals somehow qualify for.

    Stricter policies against illegal immigration work for the prospective illegal alien too. This way they’ll be here legally with all of the protections and benefits that go along with that status.

    But it’s all about profit, and businesses profit from illegal aliens. We all subsidize those profits in the form of increased cost of social services, medical, etc. Meanwhile the illegal aliens are getting screwed because they can’t complain, unless it’s to petition the government for more benefits that they don’t pay for (I have no idea why our government listens to non-voters, oh wait, it’s the media! Another group making profits out of the illegals!). So, who loses? You and I and the illegals. Who wins? Government because they eventually increase their voter base at our expense, and businesses that care more about profits then ethics.

    We all lose because if 10 to 20 million people work for substandard wages then wages will eventually fall for everyone and long-term profit goes down, and shrinking wages mean a shrinking economy which means shrinking tax revenue…and well, you get the picture.

    By the way, somewhere between 1 in 20 and 1 in 40 people are here illegally. That’s assuming an illegal population between 10 and 20 million and a total population of 400 million. Not exact, but you get the picture. Think about that the next time you’re at the mall people watching.

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