Immigration

Illegal Immigration Has Outsized Negative Impact on Smaller U.S. States

New study finds that illegal immigration costs 10 low-population states $454 million annually.

Thomas Gallatin · Feb. 11, 2020

A newly released report from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has revealed that the cost of illegal immigration on taxpayers is felt in states far from the U.S. southern border, and specifically in some of the country’s least populated states. In fact, FAIR found that it costs 10 states with the fewest immigrants $454 million annually — or $4,000 to $6,500 per illegal alien.

As FAIR President Dan Stein explains, “In many ways, the influx of immigrants into less populous areas of the country has an even greater impact on long-time residents than it does in larger and more urban areas. These areas have neither the tax base, nor the economic and social infrastructure to accommodate the needs of the growing numbers of immigrants taking up residence.”

Alaska, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming are the 10 states in which FAIR determined that of the 415,000 foreign-born residents living in them, 88,000 were illegal aliens. On top of that, 35,000 were children born to illegal aliens.

“Many local officials tout immigration, including illegal immigration, as a remedy to economic stagnation,” Stein observed. “However, as this report reveals, the reality is precisely the opposite. Illegal immigration, in particular, drives down wages and inhibits job opportunities for legal residents, while bringing more low-skilled, low-wage workers to these states. In turn, this increases costs to state and local governments, and discourages investment by businesses seeking a skilled labor force and lower overhead.”

Immigration constitutes a massive financial burden to taxpayers. CNSNews reports, “Nationwide, the immigration nonprofit calculated that taxpayers spend $59.8 billion educating LEP (limited English proficiency) students in 2016, up from $51.2 billion in 2010.” Some schools in small communities have suddenly faced a dramatic uptick in the percentage of LEP students. For example, Lewiston, Maine, with a population of 40,000, has had its percent of LEP students rise from 5% to 30% in just five years.

As Stein concludes, “Americans, in every part of the nation, are being affected by antiquated and unenforced immigration policies, which is why it is at the top of the list of voter concerns heading into the 2020 elections.”

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