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Illegal Immigration Costs North Carolina Taxpayers More Than $2 Billion a Year, Finds FAIR

WASHINGTON, March 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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 North Carolina taxpayers more than $2 billion a year – an increase of some $700 million since 2008. These costs – that do not include federal outlays – amount to a $578 a year burden per North Carolina household headed by a U.S. citizen.

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The report, The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on North Carolinians, estimates that about 410,000 illegal aliens resided in the state as of 2013. In addition, there were about 120,000 U.S.-born children of illegal aliens living in North Carolina who, like other U.S.-born children, may participate in means-tested programs and benefits. Though these children are U.S. citizens, they would not be in North Carolina if not for the fact that their parents violated U.S. immigration laws.

Among the report's key findings:

  • Education for an estimated 32,400 illegal alien students and 80,000 U.S.-born children of illegal aliens, many of whom also required special English-language instruction, costs North Carolina taxpayers nearly $1.3 billion annually.
  • Medicaid and uncompensated health care for illegal aliens and their U.S.-born children costs North Carolinians $323 million a year.
  • Law enforcement and criminal justice costs associated with illegal immigration add about $216 million a year to the state's tab.
  • Means-tested social welfare services used by U.S.-born children of illegal aliens add $79 million in costs each year.
  • Providing basic government services to illegal aliens costs North Carolina taxpayers about $212 million annually.

Illegal aliens pay about $293 million per year in taxes collected by state and local jurisdictions. However, the report concludes that even these minimal payments do not represent a real offset to the expenses: if the jobs were instead filled by legal U.S. workers, they would likely earn higher wages and have a much higher rate of tax compliance.

"The net cost of $1.73 billion to state and local governments represents an enormous and unnecessary burden at a time when all states are hard pressed to meet the needs of their citizens. That is money that is not being spent on other pressing needs such as improving schools, or expanding and maintaining vital infrastructure," noted Dan Stein, president of FAIR.

"Proposed amnesty legislation in Washington, which has the support of some North Carolina legislators, would only exacerbate the burdens on state taxpayers," Stein cautioned. "Because most illegal aliens in North Carolina are poorly-educated and poorly-skilled, they would remain in low-wage jobs even after gaining legal status. However, over time, they would gain access to all means-tested benefits and assistance programs offered by state and local government.

"While the federal government is primarily responsible for enforcing laws against illegal immigration, North Carolina state officials are not powerless to deter illegal aliens from settling in the Tar Heel state. State policies that deny non-essential benefits and services to illegal aliens, and require employers to electronically verify workers' employment eligibility have been upheld by the courts and have worked effectively in other states. In addition, North Carolina's congressional delegation has the power to put pressure on the Obama administration to fully implement existing laws against illegal immigration," Stein concluded.

About FAIR
Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country's largest immigration reform group.  With over 250,000 members nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests.  FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced.

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