The Staggering Cost of Illegal Immigration

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It is no secret that the southern U.S. border is open, allowing thousands of people to pour into the country illegally.  Ironically, Congressmen on both sides of the aisle in Washington are not inclined or don’t have the will to do anything about it.  Although most support legal immigration, there are huge differences on how each side believes illegal immigrants and the security of our borders should be handled.

Liberals generally support amnesty for those that enter the U.S. illegally.  They also believe that ―undocumented immigrants‖ should have all the educational and health benefits that citizens receive including financial aid, welfare, social security, and Medicaid.

Conservatives are against amnesty for those who enter the U.S. illegally.  They believe that those who break the law by entering the U.S. illegally do not have the same rights as those who enter legally and obey the law.  They also believe that the Federal Government should do a better job enforcing current immigration laws.

Whether you call them ―illegal immigrants‖ or you call them ―undocumented immigrants, the undisputed fact remains that when a person crosses the border without the proper authority, he/she is breaking U.S. immigration law.  Just to be clear, there may be some immigrants that had green cards (or other legal authority) that either did not renew or replace an expired or lost card.  This would be analogous to someone who let their driver‘s license expire and then proceeded to drive a car.  They would be doing so illegally.  Nevertheless, to put all illegal immigrants into the undocumented immigrant category is ludicrous.

It is estimated that there are between 11 and 30 million illegal immigrants in the country and that they account for 13.6% of all crime in the United States.  No matter where you stand on this issue, the facts show that the direct and indirect financial costs are enormous.  The following 2013 statistics were extracted from the website fairus.org.1  Illegal immigration costs U.S. taxpayers about $113 billion a year at the federal, state and local level.  Most of the costs (around $84 billion) are absorbed by state and local governments.  That amounts to an average of $1,117 per household.  The variance per household is higher or lower depending on the demographics of illegal alien populations.  Education costs absorbed by state and local governments are estimated at $52 billion annually.  Although illegal immigrants that work are required to pay income tax, most don’t.  Those that do get much of it refunded because they are in such a low income bracket.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, illegal immigrants residing in the U.S. send $50 billion back to their home countries each year.2  When you include legal immigrants, The World Bank estimates the amount to be $120 billion.3  That is money that is not put back into the U.S. Economy.

According to National Review, $1.87 billion was spent in 2014 on incarcerating illegal criminal immigrants.4  In 2009; the Department of Homeland Security estimated the percentage of illegal immigrants that are incarcerated to be between 11 and 15 percent of the country’s prison population.5   Almost all the financial burden was shouldered by the states.  The State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), which is a federally funded program, does pay for some cost.6  However, it does not really matter because it all comes out of taxpayer dollars.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), using official Department of Justice data on criminal immigrants in the nation‘s correctional system, reported the following: – Between 2008 and 2014, 40% of all murder convictions in Florida were by criminal immigrants.  In New York it was 34% and Arizona 17.8%.  In addition, during those years, criminal immigrants accounted for 38% of all murder convictions in the five states of California, Texas, Arizona, Florida and New York.7  That 38% represents 7,085 murders out of the total of 18,643.

It gets worse: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) removed (deported) 235,413 criminal illegal immigrants nationwide in 2015, 49% percent of whom had previously been convicted of a criminal offense.8  Although the numbers are down since 2012, they are still substantial.  Do the reduced numbers mean that there are less illegal immigrants coming into the country or does it mean that ICE has less resources to do their job or does it mean they are told to stand down?  In 2013 and 2014 ICE set free more than 66,000 illegal immigrant criminals who had over
166,000 convictions (30,000 for drunk or drug impaired driving, 414 kidnappings, over 11,000 rapes or other sexual assaults, and 395 homicides).9  Since their release, many of those have already been convicted of new crimes including felonies.

It gets worse: The invasion of illegal immigrants has established and empowered many in the form of street gangs.  Their growth is fueled by money obtained easily through drug smuggling and sales.  A 2011 FBI report makes many connections between the Mexican drug cartels and various U.S.based gangs.10  An out of hand financial and social disruption cost to American citizens just continues to grow.

To make matters worse yet: Laws in sanctuary cities help shield illegal immigrants from deportation, despite astonishing statistics on violent crimes committed by illegal immigrants.  These laws, in many cases, are in direct opposition to Federal immigration laws.  Sadly, the U.S. Senate refuses to crack down on America‘s nearly 300 sanctuary cities.
A 2014 Reuters article stated that a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that 70% of Americans are deeply worried that illegal immigration is threatening the nation‘s culture and economy.11  Concerns include job losses, the social landscape, how much insurance costs rise, and other related issues.
Since illegal immigrants typically take low skill, low paying jobs, it would be logical to surmise that some portion of those jobs are being taken away from legal immigrants.  When that happens, few good choices remain for them.  They are usually left with the choice to go back to their home country, get some kind of aid, or enter a life of crime.

Illegal immigration is totally out of control and our elected leaders know it.  Securing the borders and fixing the illegal immigration problem should be demanded by the American people.  Unfortunately, only about six percent of the population thinks it is a major problem (a sharp decline since 2014).  They are either not aware of the enormity of the issue or they are more concerned about other issues.

The social landscape is rapidly changing and it puts all legal citizens at risk for the security of their families and homes.  As a consequence, it reduces their choices as to where they live, shop, and travel.

1.  FAIR – Federation for American Immigration Reform, “Immigration Facts” http://www.fairus.org/facts

2.  Guest Opinion, 29 October 2014, Immigration Reform, “Illegal
immigrants send home $50 billion annually but cost taxpayers more than $113 billion” http://immigrationreform.com/2014/10/29/illegal-immigrantssend-home-50-billion-annually-but-cost-taxpayers-more-than-113billion/

3.  Simon Tomlinson, 31 January 2013, Daily Mail, “Revealed: How immigrants in America are sending $120 BILLION to their struggling families back home” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2271455/Revealed-Howimmigrants-America-sending-120-BILLION-struggling-familieshome.html

4.  Joel Gehrke, 28 July 2015, Nation Review, “Report: U.S. Spent $1.87 Billion to Incarcerate Illegal-Immigrant Criminals in 2014” http://www.nationalreview.com/article/421673/nearly-2-billionspent-jailing-illegal-immigrant-criminals-america-2014

5.  Jessica Vaughan, November 2009, Center for Immigration Studies, “Immigration and Crime: Assessing a Conflicted Issue” http://cis.org/ImmigrantCrime

6.  BJA – Bureau of Justice Assistance – U.S. Department of Justice, “State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP)” https://www.bja.gov/ProgramDetails.aspx?Program_ID=86

7.  GAO – United States Government Accountability Office, March 2011, “Report to Congressional Requesters – CRIMINAL ALIEN STATISTICS – Information on Incarcerations, Arrests, and Costs” http://www.gao.gov/assets/320/316959.pdf

8.  ICE – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “FY 2015 ICE Immigration Removals” https://www.ice.gov/removal-statistics

9.  WND, 25 October 2015, “Astonishing’ crime stats for illegal aliens” http://www.wnd.com/2015/10/astonishing-crime-stats-for-illegalaliens/

10.  FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation, “2011 National Gang Threat Assessment – Emerging Trends” https://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/2011-nationalgang-threat-assessment

11.  Alistair Bell, 7 August 2014, Reuters, “Americans worry that illegal migrants threaten way of life, economy” http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-worriesidUSKBN0G70BE20140807

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.

Ron Celano

Now retired from a major U.S. auto company, my time is spent as a artist, author and musician. My latest book "Choices" is a timely discourse on the state of America and how choices for the American people are being limited and in many cases taken away. As stated by one reviewer "I wish that all citizens could read this book before November... the time is near." https://www.amazon.com/Choices-Ron-Celano-ebook/dp/B01GNC57ME/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1472568310&sr=8-2&keywords=ron+celano#nav-subnav https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/641907

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