Report: Illegal immigrants cost Wisconsin taxpayers a half billion dollars

Empower Wisconsin | Oct. 2, 2019

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — While the left pushes for open borders, the cost of illegal immigration is adding up in the Badger State.

Illegal immigration cost Wisconsin taxpayers $567 million in 2017, the latest data available, according to a new report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

The analysis, tracking state and federal data, estimates approximately 90,000 individuals are living in the state illegally, with another 30,000 U.S.-born children to illegal immigrants.

FAIR estimates the average annual cost to Wisconsin taxpayers is $6,305 per illegal immigrant, or $246 per household.

The lion’s share of the half billion-dollar cost to Wisconsin is the estimated $350 million taxpayers spent on educating some 27,000 children of illegal immigrants, according to the study. Another $67 million was dedicated to law enforcement, corrections and legal fees. Total costs also include health care, public assistance, and general government service expenses.

In 2017, the total cost of illegal immigration to the United States — at the federal, state, and local levels — was approximately $116 billion, the study’s authors, Matt O’Brien and Spencer Raley, estimate.

“A continually growing population of illegal aliens, along with the federal government’s ineffective efforts to secure our borders, present significant national security and public safety threats to the United States. They also have a severely negative impact on the nation’s taxpayers at the local, state, and national levels,” the authors states.

Illegal immigrants working in the United States do add tax revenue to the federal coffers, but not enough to offset the overall costs to federal, state, and local governments.

O’Brien and Raley said they arrived at the national figure by subtracting the tax revenue paid by illegal immigrants — about $19 billion — from the total economic cost of illegal immigration to taxpayers, $134.9 billion.

FAIR now estimates that there are approximately 12.5 million illegal immigrants residing in the United States.

“This number uses FAIR’s previous estimates but adjusts for suspected changes in levels of unlawful migration, based on information available from the Department of Homeland Security, data available from other federal and state government agencies, and other research studies completed by reliable think tanks, universities, and other research organizations,” the report states.

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