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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Illegal and Paid for

By Glenn Gallas Sr.: Illegal immigration has become one of the largest dangers to the fiscal stability of Arkansas as well as the rest of the United States. While the social challenges of illegal immigration are complicated and diverse the economic impact is certain. Arkansas has done a good job of avoiding many of the fiscal challenges other states have experienced. Arkansas has done so by first having a balanced budget requirement that has prevented the runaway spending unrestricted budgets have caused. Secondly Arkansas’s elected representatives have done a good job of exercising restraint in spending.

The challenge however is the undetected and growing cost of illegal immigration in Arkansas. If we continue to keep our heads in the sand about the challenge as well as the mounting costs of illegal immigration we will fall victim to the same budget crisis that all but four states have fallen. There are two parts to the solution the first is to identify exactly who is using the taxpayer funded entitlement programs and secondly what are the costs of supplying such entitlements to those who are here illegal. The following facts where gathered by credible sources from the government as well as non-governmental agencies.

Arkansas needs its elected representatives to vote for HB 1292 and begin the process of gathering the true fiscal impact of policies that affect every taxpayer in Arkansas.

The immigrant population in Arkansas grew tremendously with thousands of immigrants arriving to work in poultry and construction jobs during the 1900s. Arkansas immigrant population increased by 196 percent and experienced the fourth largest percent increase in immigrants in the U.S. during the 1990s. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) figures, 27,000 illegal aliens resided in Arkansas as of 2000. This figure is 400 percent higher than the previous USCIS estimate in 1996. FAIR, (Federation for American Immigration Reform) estimates the illegal alien population in 2005 at 49,000. This number is 81% above the U.S. government estimate of 27,000 in 2000, and 880% above the 1990 estimate of 5,000. According to the US Census Bureau the largest influx of population came from Texas.

Mexico accounted for more than one-quarter of the foreign-born population in March 2000. Mexico’s proportion in 2000 is the largest recorded share any country has held since the decennial census in 1890 approximately 7.1 million immigrants (21.2 percent) of households with foreign-born householders

In 1999, 21.2 percent, of households with foreign born householders participated in one or more of the following means tested programs providing noncash benefits: food stamps, housing assistance, or medicaid.

22.2 percent of foreign born individuals have no health insurance. The highest participation rates for Medicaid are higher for households with noncitizen householders 24.8 percent.

Using data from California and New Jersey, the panel estimated how much immigrant households — those headed by foreign-born people — cost state and local taxpayers. This was calculated by subtracting the costs of services those households use — such as public education, police and fire, welfare, and public health — from the amount of taxes they pay on an annual basis. These estimates were made before new laws eliminated welfare benefits for legal immigrants who are not U.S. citizens.

In California, where many new immigrants live, each native household is paying about $1,178 a year in state and local taxes to cover services used by immigrant households, the panel said. In New Jersey, which has a more established immigrant population, the calculation is about $232 a year. Arkansas’s estimated cost is $706 per immigrant

On an annual basis, new immigrant families receive more in publicly funded services than they pay in taxes, the panel said. Most — especially those from Latin America — tend to have more school-aged children and require more educational services than other households. Although immigrants use about the same level of government services as native-born residents, most immigrants pay less taxes because they own less property and have lower-paying jobs. The study was funded by the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform. The National Research Council is the principal operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.

According to the Paw Hispanic Center website, in their investigation of immigration crime statistics and the federal law courts records, 40% of all sentenced federal offenders were Latinos. Of those, 72% were not U.S. citizens.

Based on the preceding reports the following costs were calculated.
Illegal Immigrant population 29457 to 53459 [in Arkansas]
Cost per illegal immigrant for state services -706.80 per 20.8 million minimum to 37.8 million maximum
Cost per illegal immigrant for education – 37.3 million
Cost per US born child of illegal alien – 52.2 million
Illegal alien incarceration costs = 96.8 million
Est annual cost – 207.1 million to 224.1 million
Est cost in 2020- 356 million
Sources –
US Census Bureau
United States Citizenship and Immigration Service
Federation for American Immigration Reform
Center for Immigration Studies
Pew Hispanic Center
Glenn Gallas Sr. is an Arkansas conservative activist, community leader, blogger and online radio host.

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