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HomeIllinois NewsNew national study shows illegal immigration costs $116B annually

New national study shows illegal immigration costs $116B annually




WASHINGTON — Illegal immigration to the U.S. costs federal, state and local taxpayers a staggering net cost of $116 billion a year – an increase of some $16 billion compared to previous estimates – according to a new study released by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

The study is the most comprehensive to date on the cost to federal, state and local taxpayers of the nation’s 12.5 million illegal immigrants and their 4.2 million citizen children. 

FAIR estimates that Illinois has at least 550,000 illegal immigrants living in the state, costing Illinois taxpayers $4.6 billion annually.

Costs Soar

FAIR's report, called “The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers,” examines the cost of illegal immigration through a detailed analysis of federal, state and local programs available to the nation’s illegal immigrant population, their U.S.-born children, or accessed via fraud.

The study tallies the impact on education, medical, justice/enforcement, welfare and other government programs. It found $116 billion cost of illegal immigration falls on state and local taxpayers disproportionately – by a ratio of roughly 2 to 1 – with state and local expenditures totaling $88.9 billion and Federal expenditures totaling $45.8 billion, with only approximately $19 billion recouped in taxes.  

Taxes Paid Inadequate

The report also tallies the estimated taxes paid by the estimated 7 million illegal immigrants in the workforce, estimating that 35 percent of them are operating in the underground economy and noting that these workers have no payroll taxes deducted from their earnings.

The study found that taxes paid by illegal immigrants are five times as likely to wind up in federal coffers than in state and local treasuries. Total taxes paid to the federal government by illegal immigrants totaled $15.4 billion, with state and local governments receiving approximately $3.5 billion, even though these entities bear a disproportionate share of the burden.  

Other key findings from FAIR:

  • The staggering total costs of illegal immigrants and their children outweigh the taxes paid to federal and state governments by a ratio of roughly 7 to 1, with costs at nearly $135 billion compared to tax revenues at nearly $19 billion. 
  • All told, the nearly $135 billion paid out by federal and state and local taxpayers to cover the cost of the presence of 12.5 million illegal aliens and their 4.2 million citizen children amounts to approximately $8,075 per illegal alien and citizen child prior to taxes paid, or $6,940 per person after taxes are paid.
  • On the federal level, medical ($17.14 billion) is by far the highest cost, with law enforcement coming second ($13.15 billion) and general government services ($8 billion) third.
  • At the state and local level, education ($44.4 billion) was by far the largest expense, followed by general public services ($18.5 billion) and medical ($12.1 billion).
  • The study also includes cost and tax revenue estimates per state. The top three states based on total cost to state taxpayers for illegal immigrants and their children: California ($23 billion); Texas ($10.9 billion), and New York ($7.5 billion). (FAIR has estimated Illinois' 550,000 illegal immigrants drain $4.6 billion from the state's resources every year).

“Clearly, the cost of doing nothing to stop illegal immigration is far too high,” said FAIR executive director Dan Stein. “President Trump has laid out a comprehensive strategy to regain control of illegal immigration and bring down these costs,” said Stein.

“Building the wall, enhancing interior enforcement and mandating national E-Verify will go a long way in bringing these ridiculously high costs under control,” he said.


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  1. But…but we’re told CONSTANTLY that illegal aliens pay into the system! As is obvious to anyone with half a brain, people getting paid under the table do NOT pay taxes. Couple that with their consumption of social services (K-12/16 public education, food stamps, Medicaid, subsidized housing, for starters), it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize they are engorging themselves at the public trough all the while they are laughing at us gringos.

  2. Even our federal government who is determined not to tell Americans how many illegal immigrants are committing crimes admits that at a minimum there are 350,000 illegal aliens incarcerated in state prisons and jails, and 3,500 are in for murder. At what cost to the taxpayers?

  3. exactly ! and the workers compensation of most if not all states allow illegal immigrants to file claims. The system of Chiropractors and other “healthcare” professionals the lawyers are making millions from these claims driving up insurance costs for everyone.