New Study Finds that Illegal Immigration Costs Arizona $1.3 Billion per year

June 3, 2004

Education, Health Care, Incarceration Costs are Increasing Rapidly

(June 3, 2004—Washington, DC) Illegal immigration now costs Arizona taxpayers about $1.3 billion annually, finds a new report, "The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Arizonans," published by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The report shows a nearly nine-fold increase in the costs of illegal immigration during the past decade, and that the burden on the state's taxpayers continues to grow rapidly. The average native-born-headed household in Arizona now bears more than $700 a year in additional costs due to mass illegal immigration to the state, finds the report.

The cost of providing education to illegal aliens and their children leads the way at $810 million a year. Health care for illegal immigrants, which threatens to bankrupt many Arizona hospitals and clinics, adds $400 million a year to the tab, while incarcerating illegal aliens costs Arizona taxpayers $80 million annually. Only a small fraction of these and other costs incurred by the state are offset by an estimated $257 million a year that illegal aliens pay in taxes to the state. The costs are even higher than the total of these three cost areas, because there are a number of other expensive benefits received by illegal aliens that are not included in this calculation.

"Perhaps even more astounding than the $1.3 billion a year that uncontrolled illegal immigration is costing Arizona is the rate at which those costs are increasing," commented Jack Martin, the author of the report. "Between 1996 and 2000, the illegal alien population of Arizona grew by a staggering 150 percent, and that rate of increase has not abated. Unless the federal government takes steps to clamp down on the massive influx of new illegal aliens, and state officials begin cooperating with immigration enforcement authorities, illegal immigration will do to Arizona what it has already done to California's state budget."

"While Arizona has become the new illegal gateway to America, and Arizonans have been forced to bear the staggering costs of our failed immigration policy, the state's elected representatives in Washington have, ironically, been at the forefront of efforts to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens and their families," Martin continued. "The $1.3 billion a year they are now paying will be just a taste of what is to come if we do not begin enforcing our immigration laws, or, worse yet, if we further encourage illegal immigration by enacting amnesty proposals.