Do Immigrants Cost U.S. Taxpayers $300 Billion Annually?

January 24, 2018. The Trump administration argues that “chain migration” is bad for the United States, and that immigrants should be admitted based upon their skills. This article looks into the administration’s claim that “current immigration policy imposes as much as $300 billion annually in net fiscal costs on U.S. taxpayers,” that was found in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report. Politifact found that although this finding is accurately cited from the the NAS report, the Trump administration left out details that further explain the effects of chain migration. It found that the NAS report provides an analysis based on multiple scenarists that lead to different estimates of the fiscal burden, ranging from $279 billion and $43 billion. The administration also didn’t take into account that although first-generation immigrants are more costly, second generation immigrants pay more in taxes than their parents and their U.S-born counterparts. Politifact determined that the Trump administration only used one finding from the report but left out important details and rated the claim as half true.

The National Academies found that first-generation immigrants (who were born outside of the United States) cost governments more money than the native-born population. The costs are largely taken on by state and local governments that educate the immigrants’ children.

David Dyssegaard Kallick, director of immigration research at the Fiscal Policy Institute, said, “This is just sophistry.”

Since the United States has been running a deficit for years, “by definition, all Americans have a bigger net cost than contribution — first-generation immigrants, second-generation immigrants, and those of us who have been here for three or more generations,” he said. “That’s a failure of tax policy, not a story about immigrants.”

Here is the link to Politifact.