WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new study released by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) finds that providing education, health care, law enforcement, and social and government services to illegal aliens and their dependents costs Texas taxpayers $12.1 billion a year – an increase of some $3 billion since 2010. These costs – that do not include federal outlays – amount to a $1,197 a year burden per Texas household headed by a U.S. citizen.
The report, The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on Texans, estimates that about 1.8 million illegal aliens resided in the state as of 2013. In addition, there were about 629,000 U.S.-born children of illegal aliens living in Texas who, like other U.S.-born children, may participate in means-tested programs and benefits. Though these children are U.S. citizens, they would not be in Texas if not for the fact that their parents violated U.S. immigration laws.
Among the report's key findings:
- Education for an estimated 195,000 illegal alien students and 481,000 U.S.-born children of illegal aliens, many of whom also required special English-language instruction, costs Texas taxpayers nearly $8.5 billion annually.
- Medicaid and uncompensated health care for illegal aliens and their U.S.-born children costs Texans $1.9 billion a year.
- Law enforcement and criminal justice costs associated with illegal immigration add about $1.1 billion a year to the state's tab.
- Means-tested social welfare services used by U.S.-born children of illegal aliens add $47.8 million in costs each year.
- Providing basic government services to illegal aliens costs Texas taxpayers about $577 million annually.
Illegal aliens pay about $1.27 billion per year in taxes collected by the state. However, the report concludes that even these minimal payments do not represent a real offset to the expenses: if the jobs were instead filled by legal U.S. workers, they would likely earn higher wages and have a much higher rate of tax compliance.
"The net cost of $10.8 billion to state and local governments represents an enormous and unnecessary burden in a state that already ranks 50th in per capita spending. That is money that is not being spent on other pressing needs such as improving schools, or expanding and maintaining vital infrastructure," noted Dan Stein, president of FAIR.
"Proposed amnesty legislation in Washington, which has the support of some Texas legislators, would only exacerbate the burdens on state taxpayers," Stein cautioned. "Because most illegal aliens in Texas are poorly-educated and poorly-skilled, they would remain in low-wage jobs even after gaining legal status. However, over time, they would gain access to all means-tested benefits and assistance programs offered by state and local government.
"While the federal government is primarily responsible for enforcing laws against illegal immigration, Texas state officials are not powerless to deter illegal aliens from settling in the Lone Star state. State policies that deny non-essential benefits and services to illegal aliens, and require employers to electronically verify workers' employment eligibility have been upheld by the courts and have worked effectively in other states. In addition, Texas's large and influential congressional delegation has the power to put pressure on the Obama administration to fully implement existing laws against illegal immigration," Stein concluded.
Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country's largest immigration reform group. With over 250,000 members nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests. FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced.