Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What is the cost of illegal immigration?

I ran into a friend last week and he asked me a pretty good question - what is the cost to the taxpayers of the Commonwealth, local and state taxes, of illegal immigration?

I have heard estimates of up to 600 million per year but that might be somewhat dated. If you have any information on this, please let me know.


  • One cost is the $24 Billion a year in transfer payments out of the country that will never return to our economy.

    By Blogger VSSA President, at 12/28/2006 12:33 PM  

  • is that for Virginia or the nation as a whole?

    By Blogger Chris Saxman, at 1/01/2007 8:28 AM  

  • I have tried to find some numbers on this, but most of the data is on the national scale. Part of the problem is that it is a hugly complex situation. Here is a quote form the NY Times.

    "For instance, the availability of foreign workers at low wages in the Nebraska poultry industry made companies realize that they had the personnel to expand. So they invested in new equipment, generating jobs that would not otherwise be there. In California's strawberry patches, illegal immigrants are not competing against native workers; they are competing against pickers in Michoacán, Mexico. If the immigrant pickers did not come north across the border, the strawberries would."

    Waynesboro recently saw $1.2 million in unexpected taxes from the commercial boom in retail stores; what percentage of that sales tax comes from purchases by illegal immigrants? If some of the poultry producers lost their immigrant labor, would those jobs go elsewhere and our spending on welfare and unemployment insurance increase? Or are the lower wages (thus lower income tax revenues) hurting our tax base?

    Your estimates of $600 you know where it came from (both in terms of who did the research and what is the $600 million paying for?) I don't doubt those figures, since I don't have any better ones, but I'm just curious.

    By Blogger Andrew from Middlebrook, at 1/04/2007 10:23 PM  

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