NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 8, 2008

A new study by Edwin S. Rubenstein, a Manhattan Institute adjunct fellow, looks at the myriad ways immigration increases the cost of government and how government policies increase immigration.

For example:

  • Rubenstein found that each immigrant costs taxpayers more than $9,000, while every immigrant household of four costs $36,000 in taxes.
  • That's far more than the $3,408 in 2007 dollars the National Research Council's 1997 "New Americans" study of federal, state and local government expenditures found immigrants to cost.

Looking at education alone, Rubenstein found:

  • About 3.8 million public school students -- 7.9 percent of total K-12 enrollment -- are enrolled in classes for English language learners, according to the Department of Education.
  • Rand Corp. researchers discovered back in 1981 that added costs for language assistance instruction ranged from $100 to $500 per pupil.
  • The total cost of providing English Language Learning instruction to the 3.8 million students enrolled in those programs is about $3.9 billion.

Turning to the Department of Justice, Rubenstein found criminal aliens to be an increasing burden on U.S. prison systems:

  • In 1980, federal and state facilities held fewer than 9,000 criminal aliens, but at the end of 2004, about 267,000 noncitizens were incarcerated in U.S. correctional facilities.
  • Of all prisoners in federal prisons, 27 percent are criminal aliens, he found, with a total cost of $1.5 billion.
  • According to a 2003 Government Accountability Office (GAO) survey, the average criminal alien was arrested for 13 prior offenses, 12 percent of which were cases of murder, robbery, assault and sexually related crimes; only 21 percent were immigration offenses, the rest being felonies.

Source: Editorial, "The Real Cost of Immigration," Investor's Business Daily, April 4, 2007.


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