House Investigation Cites FAIR Study on Financial Costs of the Biden Border Crisis
FAIR Take | November 2023
Last week, the House Homeland Security Committee released the fourth interim report of its investigation into Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The report expands on the Committee’s September hearing on the cost of illegal immigration by setting forth the staggering financial costs of the border crisis that has taken place under Mayorkas’ watch.
FAIR’s research, prominent throughout the report, provided evidence of the impact Mayorkas’ policies have had on the American people. In particular, the report cited FAIR’s 2023 study on the cost of illegal immigration, which calculates the net cost of illegal immigration is now $150.7 billion per year, a major increase from $135 billion in 2017.
The House report is divided into several parts, each of which examines a particular category of costs.
The report details how illegal aliens are taking advantage of health care benefits and other taxpayer-funded medical services under the current administration. Hospital and emergency room care represent a significant expense incurred by illegal aliens, with many illegal aliens relying on hospitals as a source of free health care, while American taxpayers are forced to pick up the tab. According to FAIR, uncompensated hospital expenses incurred by illegal aliens accounted for $8.15 billion in federal expenditures, with states taking on another $4.5 billion in 2022 alone.
During the September hearing, Congressman Eli Crane (R-Ariz.) asked Yuma County Supervisor Jonathan Lines about how the border crisis has burdened Yuma’s health system. Supervisor Lines noted that large surges of illegal aliens are taken directly to Yuma Regional Medical Center, the county’s only local hospital. With the emergency room and maternity ward overrun with illegal aliens, Supervisor Lines revealed that the hospital has incurred a cost of more than $26 million that has not been reimbursed.
The report also highlights the high costs and burdens illegal immigration places on law enforcement. In total, FAIR estimates that law enforcement expenditures on illegal aliens cost states around $19 billion per year when considering increased crime, judicial, and prison costs. State law enforcement expenditures due to illegal immigration have exploded under Secretary Mayorkas, as many states have been forced to implement their own border security and enforcement efforts due to the lack of federal action. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, states were spending around $10.5 billion in law enforcement expenditures on illegal aliens, substantially less than under Secretary Mayorkas.
Now, border states like Texas and Arizona have allocated significant funds toward keeping their citizens safe from the border crisis. According to the Homeland Security Committee report, Tarrant County, Texas, spends more than $3.6 million per year alone to incarcerate illegal aliens, and Brook County, Texas, has spent $1 million in the past few years just on law enforcement pursuit of illegal aliens.
During the September hearing, Congressman Mike Ezell (R-Miss.) asked Yuma County Supervisor Lines about how the massive influx of illegal aliens has burdened local law enforcement. Supervisor Lines noted that, “Arizona has been disproportionately affected as far as [Arizona’s] state, local, and federal augmentation of implementing border security.” The Arizona state government has allocated $20 million towards creating a task force to secure its border given Mayorkas’ refusal to do his job.
The Committee’s report also discusses the cost of housing illegal aliens. States all over the country are being forced to allocate increased funds towards the housing and shelter of illegal aliens flooding into the country on Mayorkas’ watch.
New York City has seen over 100,000 aliens arrive since Spring 2022. Due to its sanctuary policy of providing shelter to the homeless regardless of immigration status, the City has had to lease out hotels to handle the crisis. In the September Committee hearing, Chairman Mark Green (R-Tenn.) asked Joseph Borelli, minority leader of the New York City Council, about how the influx of illegal aliens has impacted shelter space in the city. Borelli stated that the Roosevelt Hotel is being leased by New York City for $200 per night, per room. He estimated that the city is expending $20 million to house aliens in the Roosevelt Hotel alone. Given there are 206 total sites being used to shelter illegal aliens in New York City, Borelli believes the expense to the taxpayers is unprecedented.
Border states are also being severely impacted. According to the Committee’s report, by October 2022, El Paso, Texas was allocating $250,000 to $300,000 per day to handle the flow of illegal aliens. Over the course of a year, “the costs represented nearly 20 percent of the city’s general fund budget for FY23.” These numbers are not sustainable for states, and without any meaningful effort from Mayorkas to mitigate the crisis, it will only get worse.
The report also details rising education costs stemming from illegal immigration. In the 2021-2022 school year, FAIR estimates that 3.8 million illegal aliens qualify as Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students, costing taxpayers nearly $59 billion, while children of illegal aliens not classified as LEP students cost taxpayers another $16.9 billion.
Despite the growing population of LEP students in the American school system, there are only 370,000 teachers with the certification needed to educate them. Without enough qualified LEP instructors, there are more than 100,000 educators acting as LEP teachers despite lacking the proper credentials. This lack of necessary teachers and infrastructure to educate illegal aliens hinders the performance of LEP and non-LEP students alike.
The House Homeland Security Committee’s report shows the harsh reality of the border crisis, and its considerable impact on American taxpayers. Without meaningful reform to put Americans first, the fiscal burden of illegal immigration will continue to stretch resources thin all over the country.
Since launching the investigation in June, the Homeland Security Committee has held multiple hearings and issued several reports examining the crisis. The investigation has focused on five phases:
- Dereliction of duty: examining the abuse of our immigration laws and defied court orders;
- Empowered drug cartels: documenting the increase in cartel violence, drug trafficking, and human trafficking;
- Human costs: considering the rise in drug overdoses, increase in criminal activity, and lives lost to violence;
- Rising dollar costs: reviewing the high price of illegal immigration, including costs in areas like healthcare, education, and law enforcement; and
- Firsthand accounts: hearing from key inside sources on how the law is being abused.
In the coming weeks, the Committee will start the final phase of its investigation, examining firsthand accounts of Secretary Mayorkas’ dereliction of duty.
To read FAIR’s full cost study on illegal immigration, including state cost breakdowns, click here.