Friday, October 24, 2008

Illegal Immigration Costs Georgia $1.6 Billion Annually, Finds New Report by FAIR

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) demonstrates why Georgia has taken a lead in adopting state-based policies to control the costs of illegal immigration. According to the new study, The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Georgians, the state currently spends about $1.6 billion a year to provide three basic services to illegal aliens and their dependents -- K-12 education, public health care, and incarceration of criminals. These costs associated with the estimated 495,000 illegal aliens residing in the state amount to a $523 a year burden for every Georgia household headed by a native-born American.

K-12 education for the children of illegal aliens constitutes the largest share of the Georgia's cost burden, finds the report. The annual price tag for schooling an estimated 64,100 children who are themselves illegal aliens, and an estimated 89,700 U.S.-born children of illegal aliens, runs to about $1.38 billion. Unreimbursed health care costs add an additional $210 million to the taxpayers' tab, while another $22.6 million is spent incarcerating illegal aliens who have committed other crimes in Georgia. All of these costs compound an already difficult fiscal situation, as state officials estimate a current budget shortfall of about $2 billion.

"At a time when governments at every level are struggling with huge deficits, slashing vital programs and services, and US-workers are losing their jobs, we see repeated examples of how illegal immigration is adding to already significant fiscal worries," said Dan Stein, president of FAIR. "As Georgia businesses have padded their profit margins in recent years by using illegal aliens to undercut American workers, the true costs for this low wage labor force have been passed along to the taxpayers."

In response to the spiraling costs associated with illegal immigration, Georgia adopted workable state-based enforcement policies in 2007, which have begun to have a positive impact. "Georgia provides a case study in how a state can respond effectively to crushing cost burdens associated with illegal immigration, and provides a model for other state governments," said Stein.

The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Georgians is the latest in a series of studies FAIR has produced examining the impact of illegal immigration on state governments and local taxpayers. "Until fairly recently, regions like the South had been largely unaffected by the phenomenon of mass illegal immigration. The findings of this report, that illegal immigration now costs Georgia $1.6 billion a year, is evidence that mass illegal immigration is truly a national problem that demands real enforcement solutions at the federal, state and local level," concluded Stein.

The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Georgians is available on FAIR's website,

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