Much of the media attention garnered by the border crisis typically revolves around states that border Mexico like Arizona and Texas. Yet a February report reveals the devastating economic consequences of illegal aliens on taxpayers as far north as Montana.
Illegal aliens cost taxpayers in the ten states with the fewest immigrants around $454 million per year, which works out to a net tax deficit of $4,000 to $6,500 per illegal, according to areportby the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
“In many ways, the influx of immigrants into less populous areas of the country has an even greater impact on long-time residents than it does in larger and more urban areas,” FAIR President Dan Stein said in the report's news release. “These areas have neither the tax base, nor the economic and social infrastructure to accommodate the needs of the growing numbers of immigrants taking up residence.”
FAIR examined migration to Alaska, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming in its study and found that 88,000 out of the 415,000 foreign-born residents in these states are illegal aliens, or 21 percent. Around 35,000 others are citizen children of illegal aliens.
“Many local officials tout immigration, including illegal immigration, as a remedy to economic stagnation. However, as this report reveals, the reality is precisely the opposite,” Stein continued. “Illegal immigration, in particular, drives down wages and inhibits job opportunities for legal residents, while bringing more low-skilled, low-wage workers to these states. In turn, this increases costs to state and local governments, and discourages investment by businesses seeking a skilled labor force and lower overhead.”
FAIR notes that 29 sanctuary jurisdictions exist in these 10 states, including the whole state of Vermont.
The report also examined the financial implications of immigrants more generally, noting that more than 50,000 K-12 students in the ten states examined are categorized as having limited English proficiency (LEP). FAIR estimated that taxpayers spend $96 million on the education of these students.
Nationwide, the immigration nonprofit calculated that taxpayers spent $59.8 billion educating LEP students in 2016, up from $51.2 billion in 2010.
Matt O’Brien, director of research at FAIR, expanded on the impact of immigration on Lewiston, Maine, a city the nonprofit honed in on in its analysis, while speaking with CNSNews.com.
Lewiston, which has a population under 40,000, has taken in more than 7,500 migrants during the past decade-and-a-half. Between 2004 and 2017, the percentage of LEP students in the town went from five to 30 percent.
“You’re putting all of the kids that have to go through that school system at a deficit that they have to recover from after they get out of the public school system," O’Brien told CNSNews.com. “Now they have to compete with the massive amount of immigrants...as they’re trying to get entry-level jobs.”
The FAIR report highlighted employers’ preference for hiring foreign-born workers, who demand lower wages, over American citizens.
“This report highlights the fact that the adverse effects of unchecked mass immigration, combined with an immigration selection process that does not choose people based on individual merit, job skills and education, are now being felt in all parts of the country. Americans, in every part of the nation, are being affected by antiquated and unenforced immigration policies, which is why it is at the top of the list of voter concerns heading into the 2020 elections,” Stein concluded in the release.