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Dealing with the costs of illegal immigrantion

The costs of illegal immigration are staggering. In an article by the Center for Immigration Studies the following is shown:

Center for Immigration Studies

WASHINGTON (August 25, 2004) — A new study from the Center for Immigration Studies is one of the first to estimate the impact of illegal immigration on the federal budget. Based on Census Bureau data, the study estimates that households headed by illegal aliens used $10 billion more in government services than they paid in taxes in 2002. These figures are only for the federal government; costs at the state and local level are also likely to be significant. The study also finds that if illegals were given amnesty, the fiscal deficit at the federal level would grow to nearly $29 billion.

Among the findings:

  • Illegal alien households are estimated to use $2,700 a year more in services than they pay in taxes, creating a total fiscal burden of nearly $10.4 billion on the federal budget in 2002.

  • Among the largest federal costs: Medicaid ($2.5 billion); treatment for the uninsured ($2.2 billion); food assistance programs ($1.9 billion); the federal prison and court systems ($1.6 billion); and federal aid to schools ($1.4 billion).

  • If illegal aliens were legalized and began to pay taxes and use services like legal immigrants with the same education levels, the estimated annual fiscal deficit at the federal level would increase from $2,700 per household to nearly $7,700, for a total federal deficit of $29 billion.

  • With nearly two-third of illegals lacking a high school diploma, the primary reason they create a fiscal deficit is their low education levels and resulting low incomes and tax payments â?? not their legal status or their unwillingness to work.

  • Amnesty increases costs because illegals would still be largely unskilled, and thus their tax payments would continue to be very modest, but once legalized they would be able to access many more government services.

If Illegals Stay, So Will the Costs. To the extent that policy makers have considered the fiscal costs of illegal immigration, they have generally tried to reduce the costs while allowing illegals to remain. But this strategy has not been effective because the average illegal already receives less than half as much in services from the federal government as do other households. Moreover, many of the costs are due to their U.S.-born children, who are awarded American citizenship at birth under current law. Other programs are simply too politically sensitive to cut, such as the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program. And others costs are unavoidable, such as incarcerating illegals who have been convicted of crimes. Conversely, enforcing immigration laws is both popular with voters and administratively more feasible. There are really only two options: either we begin to enforce the law, significantly reducing the number of illegals in the country, or we accept the costs created by the presence of a large pool of unskilled workers.

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent research institute which examines the impact of immigration on the United States.

The whole article can be found here.

As you can see, this is a large problem. My question is what are we to do? How do we solve this problem?

Please take the time to read the article so that we can become more educated on this subject.

Illegals cost us 10.4 billon dollars!!

I seriously could not beleive it when I read it. 10.4 billion dollar burdern on our fedral government is caused by illegal immigrants!? How can anyone say that it is not a problem. Ane how can anyone say that they contribute more to our society than they take. Obviously this study proves that they are hurting us more than they are helping. This is another testement to me of how important it is that we need to put a stronger hold on our borders. Bring in the Military on both sides. Man the borders so we can keep the illegals out. 70% of illegal alliens come through the Mexican border, so starting there would be a good idea. Then of course we move onto the canadian border. A comment was made in a thread earlier about how big the canadian border is. More illegals pass through in civilized areas than anywhere else. So lets start with that and then move on from there. 10 billion dollars is alot of money to be wasting on those breaking our law!

Mind-numbing stats to come!


I'm sure you will agree that immigration statistics can be very tricky. Until now I have resisted getting into a "bible-bashing" discussion with you because I just don't have time to google all day. But I'm afraid I can't let a study by some anti-immigrant group stand without the other side being presented at all. I'll take some time today and post something a little later.

For those who are interested - and I suspect most are not - you are about to see some very confusing numbers thrown about. I'm sorry, but I feel like I need to fight fire with fire. My only piece of advice is: As you digest the numbers be very careful to read the exact wording.

OK, Here's a good starting point

Here is a link to a set of immigration stats from the Cato Institute, a conservative Washington think tank.

A couple of bullet points are worth highlighting. Here is the first one:

More than half of illegal aliens enter legally and
overstay their visas and permits. "Less than half of illegal
immigrants cross the nation's borders clandestinely. The majority
enter legally and overstay their visas" (Fix and Passel 1994, 4).


This is in direct contradiction to the link Rhydogg provided earlier from the Center of Immigration Studies, which states:

...about 60 percent of the then estimated five million illegal immigrants were EWI and 40 percent were overstayers.

I honestly don't know which statistic is right, but either one serves to capably make the point that illegal immigration cannot be eliminated simply by improving security at the Mexican border - not even close.

A second quote of interest is this one:

Illegal aliens contribute about as much to the public
coffers in taxes as they receive in benefits. New data suggest
that the undocumented pay about 46 percent as much in taxes as do
natives, but use about 45 percent as much in services.

Although this seems to contradict Rhydogg's alarming 10.4 billion dollar statistic, I believe there may be a reasonable explanation. Here it is:

It so happens that all of us (native-born or immigrants) do not pay our way. In other words, in general Americans do not pay in taxes what they recieve in services. How can that be? Well, it's quite simple actually. First, a good portion of government revenue does not stem from personal taxes, and second, the federal government runs at a massive deficit. That being the case, I suspect that there is actually no contradiction between Rhydogg's alarming anti-illegal-immigrant statistics and my citation that appears to hold them blameless. The only difference being that his anti-immigration group chose to leave out the inconvenient fact that we are all guilty, not just illegal immigrants. Simply put, the $10.4 billion statistic was used by Rhydogg's group to tell a lie. You've heard that old adage right?


Rhydogg's group to tell a lie.

so what were you saying there?

anyway, it doesnt matter because anyone who takes the time to read my articles will realize that they are completely consistant. even with the one you provided.

Help with ILLEGAL immigration

Anyone who has an idea of what we can do to solve this problem please post your ideas. These statistics are real! This is a real problem. What are your ideas to solve this problem.

A plea to all...

For those of you reading this thread, I am a child of Immigrants. I am not against Immigration. I believe that there is a large problem with illegal immigration that must be solved. Immigrants have always helped our country grow and become strong. I am here in this great country because my parents immigrated. The problem we have is not with legal immigration although i believe that it should be better watched, but with illegal immigration. I am Anti-Illegal Immigrant. People like LaurenceB would like you to think that I am Anti-Immigrant, but that is just an emotional plea to prove there side of the argument. Which has up to this point failed. Facts speak louder than emotions. I am Pro-Immigrant, it is my roots, it is the graces of Immigration that brought my family into this country, even when they tried at first to enter Illegally for which they were rightly punished and deported. What can we do to solve the problem of "Illegal Immigration". That is the issue at hand.

Anti-illegal immigration

For the record, I am also against illegal immigration (although for different reasons that yours) AND I have proposed a solution. I think it should be legalized. I believe my solution (though not without difficulties) would be much more effective than the other solution that has been suggested - employing troops on the borders.

On the subject of whether or not you are anti-immigration, I don't really know, since the subject has yet to come up. But if you want to discuss it I guess I can - though half-heartedly. Are you in favor of more immigration or less?

open borders not an option

Would open borders really solve the problem? I dont think so. I think it would make the problem worse. It would flood the job market of lower-wage workers requiring more and more of them to recieve government money. Slums would develop as the lack of money would cause them to make 'make-shift' homes. We saw a taste of this in the early and late 19th century. Open borders would only put a strain on our economy. Plus it would allow people like Terrorists and those who sympothize with them to come and go as the please. This is why open borders would not work.

What is "the problem"?

Would open borders really solve the problem?

It depends on what you think "the problem" is. I believe we disagree on this.

You seem to believe that "the problem" is that illegal immigrants consume an undue amount of social services. Since my study of the subject leads me to believe that illegals are no more likely to consume social services than other members of our population in the same wage earning class, I'm not nearly as concerned as you are on this count.

"The problem" for me, however, is that our current system discourages assimilation, creating an economic and cultural subclass that causes serious damage to the lives of ordinary people (both illegals and others) and which - if it expands generations - is likely to cause irreparable damage similar to that incurred by slavery and its long overdue demise. Assimilation is the key to immigration - and it's missing right now. That's a dangerous state of affairs.

Legalizing illegal immigration solves my "problem".

A closed border is like a closed mind: STUPID.

I would like to return to the original aurgument about the $10.4 billion dollar burden caused by illegal immigrants using more services than they pay for in taxes. This figure (if it is even legit) tells us one thing, and one thing only: Illegal immigrants are kinda poor. Big surprise.

You see, we have a progressive tax system in this nation that taxes rich people more than poor people. In fact, us college kids usually don't have to pay any income tax because we have suck jobs. That means that if we use any 'services' provided by the government (a Pell Grant or subsadized student loan perhaps) we are going to be taking more than we give. The system is set up so that the rich people (and other things like debt) end up paying that difference. Of course illegal immigrants use more than they pay for. WE TOLD THEM TO.

Do you think we should have such a system? Should we really be helping our nation's poor college students, or are they just free-loaders sucking our government dry? Ah, but you might argue that illegal immigrants are not like college students. College students represent an investment for the future. Them illegals are just gonna stay poor and crap up our country.

Well. Fortunately for us, someone has done the comparison for us. Behold: 4 Illegal Immigrant High Schoolers vs. MIT (and others).

Personally, I wish that more of our tax-payer dollars went to helping illegal immigrants to be successful. The only difference between an immigrant and an illegal immigrant is one piece of paper.

More on Illegal Immigration

More information on the above article can be found on this link, Article Table of Contents. I know many people dont take the time to search the site, but this is a great link to show where and how the stats were found.

taking matters into their own hands....

What do you guys think of this group?

TOMBSTONE, Ariz. — They call themselves patriots, but critics call them everything from gun-toting rednecks to racists.

Hundreds of people were converging on Arizona's Mexican border Friday to ready for a month-long campaign to urge federal lawmakers to do more to stem illegal immigration

...President Bush, during a recent meeting with Mexican President Vicente Fox, denounced such "vigilantes."

"I'm against vigilantes in the United States of America and for enforcing law in a rational way," Bush said.

Armando Navarro, a University of California-Riverside political science professor and coordinator of the National Alliance for Human Rights (search), made up mostly of Hispanic activists, had some harsher words for the Minutemen.

"They have advertised nationally for volunteers to come in and enjoy the climate in the hunt against Mexicans. Literally, that's the language that they have used to promote their nativist, racist politics," Navarro charged.

But James Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project, said he's no racist.

"My son is Mexican. My grandson is Mexican. I've never been affiliated with any racist type of group," he said. "We're not going down there to hunt Mexicans, we're going down there to bring national awareness to the fact we have porous borders that are grossly unprotected."

Minuteman Project

Before I formed an opinion on these group, I read pro and con opinions on them, I watched coverage of their job this weekend and I saw that they obeyed all laws, and actually help aprehend illegal aliens. I think that it is a good way for people who are agianst illegal immigration to get out and atually act on their beliefs. From the begining of our great country, militia and 'bounty hunters' have existed. I see this as nothing different. They are not out their killing or hurting, but reporting illegals helping our border patrol do their job. Now I fully agree eith the statement from the gov. that says if the 'minute men' break the law then they will be prosecuted. And that is the same justice should be required for the illegals crossing the borders. Good job minute men. Just like any responsible citizen should do, report those who are breaking the law.

Our Border situation threatens our lives!!!!!!

More examples of how the southern border jepordizes our very livelyhood;

U.S. security officials are investigating a recent intelligence report that a group of 25 Chechen terrorists illegally entered the United States from Mexico over summer… Members of the group, said to be wearing backpacks, secretly traveled to northern Mexico and crossed into a mountainous part of Arizona

This article was released by the Homeland security division of our goverment. You can read the whole story here.

This is another testament of how bad the border situation is. We need the military to stop this!

Another story here shows another shocking outcome of our pourous southern border.

The most recent sign, though, that terrorists may be thinking of entering the US from the south came from the mastermind of many of the terror attacks in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Last week, US officials revealed that Mr. Zarqawi may be planning to broaden his campaign to include strikes in the US — and suggested it would be easy to infiltrate the US through the southern border.

Does this not scare anyone else? What are we to do?

Of course our nothern border is a high-risk area also. In an article released by a senate commitee on dangers of our borders, it said;

This remains true despite the fact that Admad Ressam, the Algerian who planned to blow up the Los Angeles International Airport in 1999, and who has been linked to those involved in the September 11 attacks, chose to enter the United States at our northern border. It will remain an inviting target until we dramatically improve our security.

The Canadian border is where some of the 9/11 terrorist entered. I am not being racist or saying the southern border is our only problem. I think the whole border situation is a mess. We must do something!

I must know, How can having an open border actually help our country. It is already bad right now with terrorist comming in. Imagine what it would be like if they were open.? All this asside from the economic turmoile it would cause. We are in danger. Open borders are not the solution.

I always thought the Chechen'

I always thought the Chechen's beef was with Russians, not Americans.


Your problem is that you are not willing to look at all the facts. You try to spin my words to mean things that they do not. Not one of my statistics contradict eachother. The quote above;

More than half of illegal aliens enter legally and overstay their visas and permits. "Less than half of illegal immigrants cross the nation's borders clandestinely. The majority enter legally and overstay their visas" (Fix and Passel 1994, 4).

If you look at the two studies you will see that the above study was done in 1994. The other study I provided earlier was done much more recent, it would be only obvious that the numbers are different, and more dramatic as the number of illegals entering our country only grows. Please read all of the articles. Once agian your liberal spin is halarious. And what you fail to realize is that the above study was done by an INDEPENDANT immigration commitee that had no interests in reporting what they did. If you dont believe me, look up there name and once again, please read the whole article! This seems to be a problem with you. You take out the parts that seem pertanent to you and spin the rest. Read the whole article and the sources they come from. Something as small as a date can make a huge difference. You may be all for immigration, but you have to understand that they are a heavy cost on our economy. And like the article said, there are two forms of action we can take. One is to accept the 10 billion dollar burden and let them keep on coming, or we can take action and stop the onslaught of criminals entering our country. I say criminals because they are breaking the law.

Im a liar...?

Simply put, the $10.4 billion statistic was used by Rhydogg's group to tell a lie.

Funny how you are now calling me a liar for taking an indepentant study and presenting it to everyone. That is a typical response of anyone who has factual evidence proving there theory wrong. Basically I cant be right, because when I present and INDEPENDANT study done by an angency with no interests then I and they are called liars. Funny how that is. I guess all the independant commities lie when they come up with there findings. Great job laurenceB.

p.s. Mason, last i checked it was against the terms of use to use slander or libel. Calling me a liar when I just state facts from an independant source, and when i am not lying is a form of slander/libel.

My $0.02

This is my opinion: there are 10,000,000 illegal immigrants in America. If you think that $10B is a lot, well, it would take WAY more than that to chase all of them away. I think that there should be an amnesty again (I am not saying that the illegal immigrants are OK, I am choosing the lesser of two evils).
If we were to have an amnesty, at least we would be able to account for everyone that lurk around. That is one of the big security flaws we have, there are way too many that we don't know about.
Then, I would focus in making access to the country tighter. Student and tourist visas are already a HECK of a lot tighter than before. So, regarding the borders, yea, I mean military. Instead of shooting them, I would put them in prison for a while (there they go, they are in America), and then kick them out. I would choose some place in flippin' hot New Mexico or Arizona to lock them up. Now the try-again-try-again-try-again thing doesn't seem that cool anymore.
Also, I would put pressure on the Mexican government to put their pants on and do something about their own people. America can easily stop economical help or other things until the Mexican government organizes itself a bit and also do some decent border patrol.
These were my ideas. I kind of like the idea of a reboot-and-restart thing to clarify what's already in and focus on keeping the rest out.


For the record I am pro-immigrant. I believe that we have terrible immigration laws in effect at this moment. Like I said before I am a child of Immigrants, You asked;

Are you in favor of more immigration or less?

I am not in favor of more because more would mean that we would ease up on our immigration laws making those entering illegally enter legally. I beleive that we need to be much more carefull on who we legally admit into this country. My other post America as a Role Model, disscussed the view of America in the world. I understand that other countries have extreeme hatred for us in the USA. It is for that very reason that I think we need to tighten our immigration laws. Terrorists and those who sympathise with them are out trying to get in. We need to do all we can do to keep them out. Also those who are 'over-staying' are breaking our immigration laws. The only way I believe we can solve that is by seriously limiting and or looking at those requirements who receive those visas and green cards to enter. That is my view point on Immigration. I am not for more, I am not for less, unless that is a consequence of making stricter immigration laws.

It does not discourage assimilation

It doesn't. I can tell you with a lot of confidence that it is not the laws that cause the problem. It is the attitude of some Americans and the attitude of most immigrants.

I know this might sound a bit arrogant and I don't mean it to sound like this, but I have to say it: I know more of how Latin-Americans immigrants act than you guys. After all, I am a Latin-American immigrants as well (although I think the term "Latin-American" is incorrect, and also I have been tagged as "Gringo-wannabe", as I mentioned earlier in this thread). Latin-Americans tend to "stick together" under the flag of common ethnicity, and they act in a more authentic way when surrounded by Latin-Americans.

Many Latin-Americans tend to be envious or scared of White Americans. They also tend to be a lot more shy around them. These facts contribute to this wedge that LaurenceB mentioned. Although I know many who will send these facts to heck and cross the wedge and interact with people of other cultures with no problem (I consider myself, my family and most of my Latin-American friends to be in this group). This gap is a cultural/psychological one.

Sadly, there is a social wedge as well. It is true that racism exists, and even here in Utah. I am glad that its dimensions are nowhere close to what it is in other places. But I know people who have worked cleaning houses up in those big houses in the mountains and have been treated very badly. I know a Latin-American girl in that group whose features were a lot more Caucasian, and because of that she would get a much better treatment. Please, note that these are rather isolated events instead of the general norm in Utah, but it is worth considering.

Again, I would be a lot quicker to point out to these issues as the cause of segregation. I am very informed about the current immigration policies (having gone through the whole permanent residency process recently) and also of their impacts on the population. I can tell you that many immigration laws are rather despotic, and also I can tell you that immigration officers can be extremely abusive (yes, something that you would not believe), but I can tell you that their policies do not encourage segregation.

Please, also do not confuse segregation with the problems that many illegal immigrants have to go through because of their unlawful condition. White Americans with problems with the law are under the same conditions.

closed borders?

I have to seriously dissagree with you. Our tax dollars should not be spent on helping illegal immigrants. That would be like saying we should be spending tax dollars on helping criminals commit crimes. Why? Because entering this country the way the do is exactly that. Illegal! They should recieve no special treatment. I have no problem with people entering this country legally and recieving the help they need, but breaking the laws is breaking the laws. I never siad that I was for a closed border. A closed border is defined as zero immigration. As I have said before I am pro immigration, but i seriously believe we have to stop illegal immigration. My statistic is for real. The Immigration services has similar statistics as I have found. I am not just talking about latin american migration, but others as well, it could be russian, chinese and so forth. Illegal immigration is a problem. But it is true that alot of the problem has come from those of latin decent entering illegally. The government website for immigration services says;

Mexico is the largest source country for unauthorized immigration to the United States. The estimated unauthorized resident population from Mexico increased from about 2.0 million in 1990 to 4.8 million in January 2000. Mexico’s share of the total unauthorized resident population increased from 58 percent in 1990 to 69 percent in 2000. In addition to Mexico, six countries had more than 100,000 unauthorized residents in the United States in January 2000 --El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, Honduras, China, and Ecuador."

That link can be found here, Latin Illegals

But we cannot discriminate on race. Border protection needs to be on all our national borders. I am against tightening the borders against illegals for the drain on the economy that they cause, and for the fact that those who wish to hurt our country, terrorists and their sympothizers are trying to get in. We need to do something. Hhhhh had some good ideas. I have presented some ideas. But completely opening the borders and helping those who broke the law in the first place will do nothing but worsen the problem.

US Census Bureau

As to the validaty of the article, the information presented in the article was taken from the U.S. Census Bureau, their home page is here, Census Bureau, you can search and find the information you want on Illegal Immigration. I dont know what more you need. Some posting on this thread seem to not want to believe the facts no matter who finds the information. Maybe you who are so skeptical should refer to an article by Brad, Conspiracy Theories.


They will look to start a brawl wherever they can. They are of an extreme Islamic belief therefore they ae against anything and anybody from the west.

A question for those who want open boarders...

A question for those who want open boarders... How do we protect ourselves from Terrorists and the like if they can come and go as they please? I have some above examples of our already bad situation. Wouldnt it only get worse if we had open boarders? How then can we prevent future '9/11's'?

P.S. An update on the Chechens that came across the boarder, they were caught and now have a new residence at Gitmo.

re: laurenceb

Since you will probably not take the time to look up about the organization i will provide for you who they are, it is from their website that you can access from my above article.

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization founded in 1985. It is the nation's only think tank devoted exclusively to research and policy analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States.

does that help you, because if i remember you called them an 'anti-immigration group'.

The only difference being that his anti-immigration group chose to leave out the inconvenient fact that we are all guilty, not just illegal immigrants

They clearly state that they are 'pro-immigration'. In fact they use those exact words. Go ahead and look it up. If you want to read about them go here…Center for Immigration Studies

Calm down Rhydogg

Geezzz... Take it easy bro. All I did was counter the points you made and pointed out where I thought the organization that you cited had been deceptive by omitting important information.

If I ever call you a liar you will know it because I will say something like "You are a liar". See, its pretty easy to spot. But I have no reason to believe you are a liar, I just think you're wrong.

(By the way, open borders is not a "liberal" position, as you seem to think it is. In fact, the free flow of labor, goods and services is the heart and soul of conservative economic thought. Historically, it was the liberals, headed by Ted Kennedy and LBJ in the late 60's, who pushed through the first legislation to restrict the flow of immigrants from the western hemisphere to the U.S. It's neither here nor there, but I just thought I'd clear that up.)

Good thoughts

Good thoughts Hhhh. I like some of your ideas, and I agree with much of what you say. Especially about Mexico! Good call on that one. And military is a good option as well, thanks for the points, I like your thoughts...

In regards to Amnesty, I think you are right about not being able to get them all out. But I am not sure if we should grant them Amnesty as there rights inside our country would increase, and they would be able to get ahold of more government money. But I would be in favor of a type of Amnesty with restrictions on those who apply. Those restrictions being that they cannot recieve anymore government aid then what they were able to recieve before. But I would like to study more on that. If you have information on Amnesty rights I would like to read them.


Sorry, spelling/grammar nazi.

Unfounded Fears

What makes you so sure that illegal immigration is a problem? I mean, what are the effects of this problem? Newspaper says the economy is doing fine. Job market is looking good. Investors are happy and the market is up. Yes, government funds are being spent, money that could be spent elsewhere, but doesn't that cost come with a benefit? The answer is, of course, that it does, but interest groups aren't going to tell you that half of the story.

I believe that anyone with a job (or even looking for work) is giving something to this country. It's not like these people want to be poor. Nobody wants that. These people aren't coming here to ruin America, they're trying for something better. In addition, it turns out that most illegal immigrants do more than just work. They raise families, go to church, watch TV, play sports, and buy stuff too. What's wrong with that? Isn't that what you do? Where is the evil menace?

The only reason they're illegal is because we say they are. One nod from Bush and they're legal, just like that. You make it sound like these people are criminals, shooting border gaurds, looting stores, and eating babies as they come pouring into our country. That's what watching Lou Dobbs will do to ya'.

I'm well aware

I know what they say they are. That doesn't change what they are.

They are a group that works towards lowering immigration (by their own admission), if there is a better word to describe such a group than "anti-immigration" feel free to suggest it, and I'll consider using it.