As the heated debate over funding the southern border wall rages on in Congress, President Trump announced his intention to send illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities and states across the nation. Considering that a number of major locations, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and others have declared that they would not cooperate with immigration enforcement, the proposal seems like a rather logical one.
After all, if these cities decide to nullify federal law, there should be no issue in settling more illegal immigrants within their boundaries. But as clever as the proposal is, it also unveils a damaging policy gap and highlights the staggering costs that illegal immigration poses for the state, local, and federal budgets. In short, illegal immigration burdens citizens, both native and immigrant, with immeasurable social and fiscal costs.
Setting aside the legal and moral questions that shape immigration policy, there is a significant tax burden imposed on citizens and legal immigrants tied to a leaky border. President Trump made headlines last year for questioning the costs of illegal immigration. Our dutiful firefighters in the mainstream press fact-checked each word and called his $250 billion figure an exaggeration. However, looking at the substance of his argument shows that he was likely on the mark.
The costs of illegal immigration are comprehensive. Even after deducting the $19 billion in taxes paid by illegal immigrants, the 12.5 million of them living in the country results in a $116 billion burden on the economy and taxpayers each year. About two-thirds of this amount is absorbed by local and state taxpayers, who are often the least unable to share the costs.
One of the major drivers of the increasing costs is 4.2 million children of migrants, who automatically become American citizens. Taxpayers are indeed on the hook for over $45 billion in state and federal education spending annually, not to mention the added burden of increased social welfare dollars. Much of the almost $30 billion in medical and assistance funding is sparked by the fact that noncitizen families in the United States are twice as likely to receive welfare payments than native-born families.
By Kristine Tate for THE HILL
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