Illegal Immigration: The True Cost to The American Taxpayer

By Rene Sotolongo:

The cost of illegal immigration? Over $1 Trillion in 2015 alone. Now consider that according to the Center for Immigration Studies, in 2002 this number was between $67 and $87 billion a year. A ten-fold increase in just 13 years.

“Illegal” immigration is a loss of American jobs and money. It is only the “Corporatocracy” that benefits. It is only the corporations and their interests that reap the benefits of cheap labor. And it is the American taxpayer that ultimately pays for it all.

It is now obvious to anyone that cares to do the research that NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) is an utter disaster. Just as Donald Trump has pointed out multiple times during his campaign for the US Presidency.

In fact, post NAFTA, a mind blowing 87 percent of Mexico’s exports are shipped to the United States. That is a staggering trade deficit by any definition. Further adding insult to injury is the unbelievable $8 to $10 billion Mexicans living in the United States send to Mexico each and every year. Most of which is obtained through federal programs like social security. But the true damage is the loss of jobs.

America has lost over 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000… and experts now concede that NAFTA played a role in the loss of these jobs. According to several reports by FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) “between 40 and 50 percent of wage-loss among low-skilled Americans is due to the immigration of low-skilled workers.”

The number of jobs lost within our borders due to the influx of cheap labor and the loss of manufacturing jobs due to outsourcing to foreign countries makes this situation utterly untenable.

Further, the National Research Council, part of the National Academy of Sciences, reported that in 1997 the average immigrant without a high school education imposed a net fiscal burden on the American taxpayer of over $89,000 during the course of his or her lifetime. And that was in 1997. The latest research puts that number somewhere over $125,000. So on top of losing jobs the American taxpayer has to pay for the privilege.

And what about all the talk of “immigration reform?” And the “net” benefit of all this illegal immigration?

Research showed back in 2002 that if illegals are given amnesty, read “immigration reform,” the fiscal deficit at just the federal level would grow to nearly $29 billion per year. The numbers have only gone up. Key points in that research:

* 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).

But many pundits in favor of “immigration reform” claim that the average illegal household pays more than $4,200 a year in federal taxes, for a total of nearly $16 billion. But what they do not do is put that number into context.

The fact is that while illegals do in fact generate over $4,000 a year in federal taxes it is just as true that illegals impose annual costs of more than $26.3 billion, or about $6,950 per illegal household. Creating a net deficit that the American taxpayer ultimately pays for.

Based on these numbers, researches and politicians claiming some modest overall gain for the economy from immigration ($1 to $10 billion a year) have now conceded that any gain from immigration is outweighed by the fiscal cost ($15 to $20 billion a year) to native taxpayers.”

And now for the bad news.

Medical service for Americans in affected communities is being severely damaged as hospitals absorb more than $200 million in unreimbursed costs. Some emergency rooms have shut down because they cannot afford to stay open.

According to Tom DeWeese, author of The Mexican Fifth Column; “Mexican ambulance drivers are driving their hospital patients who can’t pay for medical care in Mexico, to facilities in the United States. They know that the federal Emergency Medical Act mandates that U.S. hospitals with emergency-room services must treat anyone who requires care, including illegal aliens.”

Local tax-paying Americans are either denied medical care or must wait in long lines for service as the illegals flood the facilities. In California, the losses are calculated to be about $79 million, with $74 million in Texas, $31 million in Arizona, and $6 million in New Mexico.

Why do American benefits paid by American taxpayers apply to someone who is in the country illegally?

And now even more bad news

According to the American Policy Center, over 80% of cocaine and over 50% of heroin in the U.S. is smuggled across the border by Mexican nationals. Drug cartels spend a half-billion dollars per year bribing Mexico’s corrupt generals and police officials, and armed confrontations between the Mexican army and U.S. Border Patrol agents are a real threat.

Rep. Tancredo’s office, as reported by the Washington Times, has begun documenting new incursions as they take place. Most recently, two disturbing incursions have taken place. On May 17th, a Mexican Army unit led an incursion near Ajo, Arizona that ended with a shot being fired at a Border Patrol Agent. The agent was not hurt, but had two of his vehicle’s windows shot out. On June 14th, the Mexican Army opened fire (with high-powered .308 rifles) on a vehicle with 20 people packed into it. Six of the passengers were injured, two critically.

It is simple. An armed incursion onto US soil by a foreign power constitutes a state of war. Period. When will we say enough is enough?

There have been 118 documented incursions by the Mexican military over the last five years. Does anyone still believe that we don’t need a wall along our border? Or that we don’t need to post the National Guard to strategic locations along our border?

We simply can no longer afford to harbor, shelter, and provide benefits to “illegal” immigrants. But as long as politicians can use the system to provide “benefits” in order to “buy” votes, nothing will change.

But consider the amount of good we could do for our Country. Consider our homeless vets, homeless families, and our depressed neighborhoods. What could we accomplish if we didn’t spend over $1 trillion on illegals? (And that is just the known costs. Factor in the unseen costs and burdens on our healthcare systems, school systems, housing, crime, and fighting the drug trade and the number is even higher.)

On top of all the good we could do, consider this. If we no longer provided benefits to illegal immigrants, we could reasonably expect to pay off our national debt in less than 20 years.

How do we do it? The solution is just as simple. Create a law that states simply that you must be an American citizen to be eligible for benefits. If you are not an American citizen, then you should not be entitled to benefits paid for by the American taxpayer. Period.

And before this author is criticized or labeled as a xenophobe or as a racist, know this. I am the first generation born American citizen from Cuban immigrants. My father and his grandfather came to this country “legally” obeying the immigration laws of this country. And my father became a US citizen.

I believe in immigration. Immigrants have made this country what it is. But there is a huge difference between immigration and “illegal” immigration. What part of “illegal” do we not understand?

Bottom Line: the costs are just too great. If you want the benefits offered by America then become a citizen. What is so difficult (or wrong) with that?

Rene C. Sotolongo is an OpsLens Contributor and a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer who served for over twenty years as an Information Systems official. Sotolongo also specialized in homeland security and counterterrorism.





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