January 10, 2019. This article discusses the controversy surrounding estimates of the cost of illegal immigration to the United States. The author points out that President Trump has used several different cost estimates including $200 billion, $250 billion and $275 billion in order to gain support for funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall. The article goes on to discuss how an accurate estimate of the cost of illegal immigration is hard to determine. The author cites many tax and immigration experts who highlight that undocumented immigrants do not have access to most social services excluding Woman, Children and Infants (WIC), they pay sales and property taxes, and although their U.S.-born children do use the American school system, research has shown that second generation immigrants go on to do better than their parents and help boost the American economy.
As President Donald Trump continued his weeks-long push for Congress to give him the funds he demanded for his border wall, he stressed a false claim about how much illegal immigration costs the country.
“It’s so insignificant compared to what we’re talking about. You know, I’ve heard numbers as high as $275 billion we lose on illegal immigration,” he said at a Cabinet meeting at the White House on Wednesday. “The $5 billion, $5.6 billion approved by the House is such a small amount compared to the level of the problem.”
What are the facts behind the economic impact of immigrants? We checked Trump’s figures with immigration and tax policy experts across the political spectrum,who said he was exaggerating, at best.
“Frankly absurd,” David Dyssegaard Kallick, the deputy director of the nonpartisan Fiscal Policy Institute, told NBC News.
“It’s really hard to calculate anyone’s ‘net cost’ or ‘net benefit.’ We all use all kinds of services, from roads to military protection. How do we apportion what part of that is something I or you or an immigrant use?” said Kallick.
Kallick said the debate over costs was not relevant to the necessary fiscal conversations the country is having, particularly in a country with citizens that operates on a net negative — running on a deficit.
“Fundamentally I think it’s the wrong question. The right question for undocumented immigrants and any group is, ‘Are they paying their fair share of taxes and getting their fair share of service?'” Kallick said. “You’re talking about people who work for very low wages and are excluded from nearly all social services. It takes a real act of will to say they’re exploiting us.”
Here is the link to NBC News.