Right Hooks

The Staggering Cost of Immigration

A new study says the cost outweighs the economic benefit.

Thomas Gallatin · Sep. 21, 2016

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine released a report laying out its findings from a study on immigration’s impact on government expenditure. The findings of the study, which calculated the cost burden of both legal and illegal immigration, run counter to the oft repeated claims by Barack Obama and Democrats that the economic benefits of immigration far outweigh any negative cost. The study used eight different scenarios and found that the immigration burden experienced by federal, state and local governments costs anywhere from $43 billion to $296 billion per year.

The report noted that in some of the scenarios the federal government’s revenue in taxes did outweigh spending for benefit programs, but those same scenarios also witnessed state and local losses surpassing the total amount of federal government revenue. In other words, an overall loss. The report stated, “Fiscal impacts vary strongly by level of government. States and localities bear the burden of funding educational benefits enjoyed by immigrant and native children. The federal government transfers relatively little to individuals at young and working ages but collects much tax revenue from working-age immigrant and native-born workers.”

This report seems to support Donald Trump’s assertion that immigration, specifically illegal immigration, is hurting the American worker. As the report stated, “Although the extra labor causes the aggregate amount of output to rise, per-capita output — output divided by the new, higher number of people in the economy — initially declines.”

Another interesting highlight is the number of immigrants both legal and illegal that have entered the country since the turn of the century. From the year 2000 to 2014, more than 42.3 million people have immigrated to the U.S. — a number accounting for 13% of the nation’s entire population. Of the 42.3 million, it is estimated that approximately 11.1 million are illegal immigrants, with an average of 400,000 arriving each year. Immigration will only continue to grow as a problem as taxpayers are increasingly burdened with paying for more and more government benefit programs such as ObamaCare.

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