(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) A report from the Center for Immigration Studies found that allowing illegal immigrants, who are predominantly low-skilled, to stay in the United States causes a net fiscal drain on the economy.
Numbers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) showed the average cost of deportation was less than $11,000, while permitting uneducated illegal immigrants to remain in the country costs, on average, over $65,000. The CIS reported that the lifetime cost of allowing the estimated 11.43 million illegal immigrants in the country to stay is nearly $750 billion.
The main reason illegal immigrants take more in government assistance than they pay in taxes is their level of education.
“Because the overwhelming share of illegal immigrants residing in the country have not completed high school or have only a high school education, it would require highly implausible assumptions to avoid a substantial net fiscal drain from this population,” said Steven Camarota, the Center’s director of research.
Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) introduced an immigration reform bill on August 2, called the RAISE Act, but it does not address the fiscal drain caused by illegal immigrants.
The RAISE Act would reduce the number of legal immigrants that can come to the United States each year. Legal immigrants, however, have similar levels of educational achievement to their native-born counterparts, according to a study by the Migration Policy Institute, which means they will, on average, contribute more in taxes than they receive in services.
David Bier, immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute, said the RAISE Act will harm the American economy because it restricts the number of educated immigrants who can come to the country.
“Rather than cutting immigration, Congress should raise the employment-based quotas, which it has not adjusted since 1990 — when the United States had some 77 million fewer people and the economy was half the size it is now,” Bier wrote in the New York Times. “A smart reform would double green cards and peg future work visas to economic growth, responding to market forces rather than political whims.”
The RAISE Act does not secure the border or provide resources to deport illegal immigrants, but it would create a merit-based immigration system.
“The RAISE Act is an attempt to rebalance the portion of skilled versus family in the immigration flow,” Executive Director of CIS Mark Krikorian said, according to Fox News.
Krikorian claimed immigration has kept wages stagnant.
“If we have, for instance, the highest percentage of our working age population that isn’t working, is not even looking for work, how is it helping things to import more people from abroad?” he asked.
Bier, however, argued that stagnant wages and job loss are caused primarily by burdensome regulations and automation, not immigrants.
While the effects of legal immigration on wages of native-born Americans is debatable, less legal immigration will not end the fiscal drain caused by illegal immigrants. That can only be accomplished by preventing illegal immigrants from receiving government benefits or by deporting them.
Watch Krikorian’s interview with Tucker Carlson about the Raise Act: