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.