Thu. May 23rd, 2024

FAIR Newsletter | Article 1 of 5 | April 2023

A new report by FAIR, The Fiscal Burden of Illegal
Immigration, finds that as of 2022, American taxpayers
shell out at least $150.7 billion each year to cover the cost
of illegal immigration. Broken down, the data reveals that
taxpayers pay $182 billion annually to provide services
and benefits to illegal aliens and their dependents. These
costs are offset by about $31 billion in taxes that are
collected from the estimated 15.5 million illegal aliens
living in the United States, bringing the net cost to $150.7
billion annually.


The 2022 costs represent a 30 percent increase to
taxpayers in just five years. A former version of this study,
conducted in 2017 by FAIR, placed the annual net cost of
illegal immigration at $116 billion. Most of the additional
costs have been added in the past two years, as the Biden
administration’s de facto open borders policies have
triggered a historic surge of new illegal migrants pouring
across our borders.

The updated $150.7 billion price tag is a conservative
estimate as there are additional costs incurred from
illegal immigration, but there is currently insufficient

data to provide reliable cost estimates. The report also
does not take into account the impact of the Biden
administration’s expansive (and legally questionable)
use of parole authority to allow hundreds of thousands
of ineligible migrants to enter the country each year
is certain to balloon these already staggering costs to
taxpayers. Those admitted under the administration’s
latest abuse of parole authority are quickly eligible to
access government services and assistance programs
(while they wait for years to plead their case to remain
here) that are off-limits to illegal aliens who sneak across
the border or overstay their visas.
FAIR’s comprehensive analysis looks at available
federal, state, and local programs and services that are
directly accessible to illegal aliens, or indirectly, through
their U.S.-born children who qualify for all means-tested
programs. In addition to the surge of illegal immigration
since 2021, state and local governments have offered
a variety of new benefits and services to illegal aliens,
which have exacerbated the situation for struggling
taxpayers.

Among the key findings in FAIR’s report, The
Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States
Taxpayers:

  • The gross annual cost of illegal immigration (the
    total amount before taxes paid by illegal aliens are
    factored in) is now $182 billion, annually.
  • Taxes paid by illegal aliens only cover around
    17.2 percent of the costs they create for American
    citizens, bringing the net cost to $150.7 billion
    a year. For every dollar in taxes paid by illegal
    aliens, they and their dependents consume six
    dollars in benefits and services.
  • The largest component of the cost is K-12
    education, which must be provided under a 1982
    Supreme Court ruling, Plyler v. Doe. The annual
    K-12 education cost for illegal aliens (and their
    U.S.-born children) is $78 billion, of which $70.4
    billion is borne by states and localities.
  • Health care for illegal aliens costs taxpayers about
    $42.7 billion annually.
  • A variety of food assistance and nutritional
    programs used by illegal aliens and their children
    cost taxpayers about $13.5 billion annually.
  • Combined federal, state, and local criminal
    justice costs associated with illegal immigration
    run about $47 billion annually – not including the
    cost of damages to victims.
    In additional to the cumulative national costs of
    illegal immigration, the FAIR report breaks down each
    state’s cost burdens. These state costs provide vital
    information to citizens and local lawmakers as they
    struggle to address the burdens imposed upon them
    by the Biden administration’s de facto open borders
    policies. As the costs mount, many are considering
    legislation that discourages illegal aliens from settling
    in their jurisdictions.

The release of FAIR’s study received national and
local news media attention and has been cited by
members of Congress who are pushing back against
the Biden administration’s bankrupt (literally and
figuratively) policies. The report was also widely
discussed on talk radio programs across the country.
The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration is the
product of a prodigious effort by FAIR’s Research
Department which spent months combing through

numerous databases to find information which is often
deliberately obscured to keep American taxpayers in
the dark about the costs of illegal immigration. The
report was compiled by FAIR researchers: Spencer
Raley, Pawel Styrna, and Michael Capuano.
The full report, The Fiscal Burden of Illegal
Immigration, is available on FAIR’s website, www.fairus.org.

FAIR = FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM

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