Report Finds $1.9 Billion Cost for Maryland from Illegal Immigration
(May 17, 2012 — Washington, D.C.) — A new study released by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) finds that providing education, health care, law enforcement, and social and government services to illegal aliens and their dependents costs Maryland taxpayers $1.86 billion. These costs amount to a $910 a year burden per Maryland household headed by a U.S. citizen.
The report, The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Marylanders, estimates that about 295,000 illegal aliens resided in the state as of 2010 – more than five times as many as lived there in 2000. In addition, there are some 68,000 U.S.-born children of illegal aliens living in Maryland who are eligible for all means-tested programs and benefits. Though these children are U.S. citizens, they would not be in the state if not for the fact that their parents violated U.S. immigration laws.
Among the report’s key findings:
Education and special English-language instruction for an estimated 21,600 illegal alien students and 49,000 U.S.-born children of illegal aliens costs Maryland taxpayers nearly $1.4 billion annually.
Uncompensated health care for illegal aliens and their U.S.-born children costs Marylanders $231 million a year.
Law enforcement and criminal justice costs associated with illegal immigration add about $177 million a year to the state’s tab.
Means-tested social welfare services used by U.S.-born children of illegal aliens add $47.5 million in costs each year.
Illegal aliens pay about $120 million per year in payroll and other taxes. However, the report concludes that even these minimal payments do not represent a net gain for Maryland as the jobs filled by illegal aliens would likely be filled by legal U.S. workers, working at higher wages, with a much higher rate of tax compliance.
“At a time when Maryland, like most states, is struggling with severe budget constraints, the state’s rapidly growing illegal alien population is forcing the state to divert scarce resources to provide for their needs,” observed Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “Rather than act to protect the interests of citizens and public resources, many Maryland lawmakers, at the state, county and city level, offer new rewards and protections to illegal aliens.”
A glaring example of this sort of behavior, notes the report, was a 2011 bill approved by the Maryland Legislature granting taxpayer subsidized in-state tuition benefits to illegal aliens who attend state-run colleges and universities, which would cost taxpayers and additional $28 million a year. Implementation of this policy was blocked by outraged Marylanders who gathered enough signatures to put the issue before the voters in November 2012.
“Maryland taxpayers are certainly victims of the Obama administration’s outright refusal to enforce the immigration law against most illegal aliens and the state’s policies accommodating those illegal aliens. But the state can reverse course and reduce burdens of illegal immigration on taxpayers,” said Stein. “We hope that by detailing the costs so that everyone can understand the burdens illegal immigration imposes on Marylanders, citizens will be spurred to action.”
The full report, The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Marylanders, can be found here.