Oregon Taxpayers Foot $1 Billion Annual Bill for Illegal Immigration Finds New Study by FAIR

Dec 12, 2012, 09:55 ET from FAIR

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimates that illegal immigration costs taxpayers in Oregon about $1 billion annually. The average Oregon household headed by a U.S. citizen bears an annual burden of more than $700 to cover the costs associated with illegal aliens in the state. This significant fiscal cost coincides with state lawmakers having to slash spending for schools and social safety net programs to close a projected budget shortfall.

The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Aliens on Oregonians examines the cost of providing services and benefits to the state's 170,000 illegal aliens and 64,000 dependent U.S.-born children. The report also looks at the costs associated with the administration of criminal justice and incarceration of criminal illegal aliens.

Among the key findings of The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Aliens on Oregonians:

  • The cost of providing K-12 education to the children of illegal aliens (including students who are themselves illegal and the U.S.-born children of illegal aliens) amounts to $575 million annually. Additionally, the cost of supplemental English language instruction is $159 million a year.
  • Unreimbursed health care and social assistance programs cost Oregonians $92 million a year.
  • Justice and law enforcement costs associated with illegal aliens add $140 million to the state's tab.
  • The cost of general public services provided to Oregon's 170,000 illegal aliens and their U.S.-born children adds $79 million a year to the state's costs.

"Oregon lawmakers have laid out the welcome mat for illegal aliens, while struggling Oregon taxpayers are getting stuck with the bills," observed Dan Stein, president of FAIR. "At the state and local level, political leaders have bent over backwards to accommodate and welcome illegal aliens. Most of the state's major jurisdictions provide sanctuary to illegal aliens."

Policies being promoted by Gov. John Kitzhaber are only likely to make Oregon more of a magnet for illegal immigration. The governor has been a strong advocate for granting driver's licenses to illegal aliens. In lieu of driver's licenses, Gov. Kitzhaber has authorized Oregon law enforcement to accept the Mexican Matricula Consular card as a valid form of identification.

The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Aliens on Oregonians estimates that illegal aliens pay about $77 million in taxes to the state each year, representing only about 7 percent of their cost. However, the report explains that the state would likely realize much greater tax revenues if the estimated 117,000 Oregon jobs held by illegal aliens were filled by legal workers. Unlike most states, Oregon has no sales tax, further limiting the revenue contributions of large numbers of illegal alien workers who are employed in the underground economy.

"It is time that state officials begin reckoning with the true costs of their policy decisions with regard to illegal immigration," stated Stein. "While states lack the authority to regulate immigration, there are many things that they can do to discourage illegal aliens from settling within their jurisdictions. In recent years other states have demonstrated that sensible policies can reduce the illegal alien population and associated costs. Unfortunately, Oregon officials seem to be opting for policies that will add significantly to the current $1 billion in costs each year borne by state taxpayers."

The full report, The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Aliens on Oregonians is available at www.fairus.org

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is a national, nonprofit, public-interest, membership organization of concerned citizens who share a common belief that our nation's immigration policies must be reformed to serve the national interest.

Visit FAIR's website at www.fairus.org.