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A Day Without Illegal Aliens Is a Boon to Taxpayers

Net cost of illegals was $10.4 billion in 2002

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  • Rep. Tom Tancredo (R.-Colo.), chairman of the 97-member House Immigration Reform Caucus, released the following statement about Monday’s planned boycott by illegal immigrants.

    A day without illegal aliens would be a boon to U.S. taxpayers who wouldn’t pay for the tremendous social service costs of persons not legally in our country. On May 1, illegal alien activists are threatening to shut down major cities in what has been called “The Great American Boycott” and, alternatively, “A Day Without an Immigrant.”

    The activist protestors are trying to confuse the American public by lumping legal immigrants with illegal aliens. A day without legal immigrants would be a day without almost all Americans. A day without illegal aliens, on the other hand, would be a boon to the American taxpayer.

    The net cost to the federal government in 2002 for public services provided to illegal aliens was $10.4 billion or $2,736 per household according to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies. Estimates for 2005 put the amount at $11.7 billion or $3,080 per household.

    Illegal Alien Costs By Social Service

    • Lost Revenue: The U.S. may be foregoing up to $35 billion in lost tax revenue because of the growing size of the underground labor market using illegal workers in the cash economy, according to a January, 2005 report by the Wall Street firm Bear Sterns.
    • Health Costs: Medicaid costs for illegal aliens and their U.S.-born children are $2.8 billion annually, according to a study by the Center for Immigration Studies. Approximately 70% of households headed by illegal aliens have at least one person without medical insurance, compared to 20% of all other households. The federal government spends $250 million each year reimbursing states for emergency medical services provided to illegal aliens, which is less than 10% of the true cost of those services.
    • Education Costs: The Center for Immigration Studies has shown that federal aid to K-12 public schools for the education of the children of illegal aliens is $1.4 billion annually, not including the cost of free school lunches. The total cost to state and local taxpayers for educating 3.5 million children of illegal aliens is estimated at $28.6 billion, according to a Federation for American Immigration Reform study.
    • Incarceration: Illegal aliens account for less than 5% of the U.S. adult population, but were 17% of the federal prison population in 2004, imposing a net cost of $1.8 billion in court and incarceration expenses.

    Fortunately, Americans have seen through the protestors’ half-truths. A Rasmussen poll released last week showed widespread disfavor of recent immigration protests, with 26 percent holding a favorable opinion and 54 percent holding an unfavorable opinion.

    Americans don’t respond well to illegal aliens who demand amnesty. As I’ve said before, that doesn’t play well in Peoria. Every time illegal aliens and their supporters take to the streets, it drives home the point to most Americans that illegal immigration is a problem in their home towns, and that we urgently need to get control of our borders.

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    Written By

    Mr. Tancredo represented Colorado's 6th Congressional District from 1999 until 2009 where he chaired the 100+ member bipartisan Immigration Reform Caucus. He currently serves as co-chairman of Team America PAC and president of the Rocky Mountain Foundation. He authored In Mortal Danger: The Battle for America's Border and Security.

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