"We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." James Madison

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Measuring the Fallout (Cost of the 1986 amnesty after ten years)

This article was written 9 years ago, almost 10 after the first amnesty. This post is only the summary. Please click on the link for the full article.

Center for Immigration Studies ^ May 1997 David Simcox


The federal government began legalizing almost three million illegal aliens 10 years ago, on May 5, 1987, wary of the fiscal liabilities of opening more public assistance programs to a population with high needs and low taxpaying power.

To ease the burden on the states, Washington closed some programs to the newly legalized for five years and reimbursed the states nearly $3.5 billion for some of their aid costs.

Was the concern of Congress, the White House, and many state and local leaders justified? A review of the evidence a decade later confirms that legalization indeed carried a high fiscal price tag — a total 10-year cost of $78.7 billion — with the indirect and downstream costs still accumulating. In the ten-year period ending in 1996, the amnestied population:

  • Accounted for an estimated $102.1 billion costs in current dollars in twenty federal, state, and local assistance programs and services.
  • Paid total taxes of $78 billion, for a ten-year fiscal deficit of $24 billion in the public assistance and services portion of the budget.

These are estimates of the direct costs only. There were, and will continue to be, significant indirect costs associated with the legalization of 2.7 million persons:

  • Job Displacement: About 1.66 million legalized workers, 70 percent of them unskilled, displaced an average of 187,000 citizen and settled immigrant workers from jobs each year. Costs of public assistance to those displaced totaled $9.9 billion for the decade.
  • Citizen Children: Women in the legalized population had an estimated 1.25 million U.S. citizen children between 1970 and 1996. Public education and three major public assistance programs to citizen children 18 and under amounted to $36.1 billion in the decade since amnesty.
  • School Costs of Undocumented Children: Remaining in the households of legalized population, or joining them subsequently were some 400,000 illegal immigrants by 1996, up from 177,000 in 1987. Costs of providing public schooling for them was $8.56 billion.
  • Five-Year Prospective Education Costs: Public education costs for U.S. citizen children of legalized aliens are projected to claim an additional $29.4 billion in the five years from 1997 to 2001, mostly from state and local budgets.
  • Total direct and associated indirect costs of the legalized population after taxes reached $78.7 billion in current dollars for the decade.

Large numbers of the legalized began to naturalize starting in 1995. According to the U.S. commission on Immigration Reform, 1.4 million spouses, children, and parents of amnestied aliens now on immigration waiting lists, will gain immediate entry as relatives of citizens. The costs of public education for the young people of this population and medical care and income support for the 900,000 aging parents is expected to be formidable.

The Government is telling us that these 'workers' are necessary for our economy. But, how can any American Citizen with an understanding of a few simple facts assume that granting amnesty to 11 million people can be anything other than an exponentially worse decision than in 1986?