NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 13, 2006

If an illegal immigrant amnesty or guest worker program similar to the ones being contemplated by the U.S. Senate and supported by President Bush were enacted, the cost to state and local governments would be staggering, says the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

According to FAIR:

  • State and local costs associated with illegal immigration for public education, health care and incarceration, now about $36 billion a year, would balloon to $61.5 billion by 2010 -- a 70 percent increase -- and increase to $106.3 billion by 2020.
  • As a result of an amnesty and a vastly expanded guest worker program, millions of current illegal aliens would gain legal access to government programs and services.
  • Moreover, newly legalized aliens would be allowed to bring their dependents to this country, adding to the burdens on schools and public health care.
  • Similarly, state and local governments would have to provide for the education and health care of the dependents of the 400,000 new guest workers called for in the Senate proposal.

An illegal alien amnesty and guest worker program would be a fiscal and administrative nightmare, says Dan Stein, president of FAIR. It would be an unfunded federal mandate that will bankrupt states, counties and cities all across the United States.

Contrary to claims by proponents of amnesty, the tax contributions of newly legalized illegal aliens would not offset the additional costs, says Stein. The estimated 12 million illegal aliens in the United States are overwhelmingly poorly educated and low skilled.

Even with legalization, their earning potential would be very limited, Stein noted. With the ability to legitimately claim dependents on their returns, their tax contributions would be negligible at best, and with programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit, many will actually get more back than they pay in.

Source: Randy Hall, "Illegals' Amnesty Could Cost $60 Billion a Year, Group Says,", April 11, 2006.


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