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Study: Illegal Immigrants Cost Kansas Taxpayers $442 million

By   /   July 8, 2010  /   16 Comments

According to a study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) the annual bill to U.S. taxpayers for illegal immigration is $100 billion and about 75 percent of the total is borne by state and local taxpayers. In Kansas that bill is estimated to be $442 million a year.

FAIR’s study, “The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers,” based the cost estimates on analysis of federal, state and local spending data.

Jack Martin, one of the study’s authors, told KansasWatchdog there was a good bit of estimation because little data is collected on illegal immigrants.

A 2008 Kansas Legislative Post Audit report (PDF) found little Kansas-specific information on the economic impact of illegal immigration in Kansas.

“Officials from several State agencies told us that although they have the authority to ask program participants if they are here legally, they generally don’t ask. For example, because the Department of Education is required to provide education services regardless of the child’s immigration status, they don’t inquire about students’ legal status.  However, agencies that are required by federal law to determine the applicants’ legal status for program eligibility purposes do so.  For example, Kansas Health Policy Authority officials told us they verify citizenship and identity documents for Medicaid applicants.”

The Pew Hispanic Center estimates the number of illegal immigrants in the United States has grown dramatically since the early 1990s, reaching an estimated 12.4 million by 2007. The Center estimates that between 40,000 and 70,000 illegal immigrants resided in Kansas as of 2005.

According to Pew, the number of legal immigrants arriving in the U.S. has remained steady since the 1980s but the number of illegal aliens has increased dramatically and, since the mid 1990s, has surpassed the number of legal immigrants (PDF).

Schools, which account for the biggest cost of illegal immigration to taxpayers, don’t ask about a student’s citizenship status. FAIR estimates it costs Kansas taxpayers $259 million annually to fund public K-12 education for illegal immigrants and children born here to illegal immigrants.

That estimate may be low. Some district superintendents appearing before legislative committees last year said English language learners in their districts typically also qualify for several other state and federal programs that add to the cost of education.

The Dodge City district, USD443, reported 55 percent of its 5,551 students were English language learners in 2009, the second highest percent among Kansas districts. USD483 Kismet, in Seward County, reported 60 percent of its students were ELL in 2009, the highest percentage among Kansas districts. Seward County.

Martin said it will take time for stricter immigration laws and enforcement to reduce costs. “You can’t logically expect that that amount of money would be saved from one year to the next. In the same way it’s built up since the last amnesty in 1986, it’s going to take years to diminish that illegal alien population.

“But that’s not a reason not to start the process with adopting effective means to stop the flow of illegal aliens coming into the country,” Martin added.

“I think this is fairly well understood by the public and that is reflected in public opinion polls,” Martin said. “Given a choice of more effective controls of illegal immigration or accommodating the presence of the illegal aliens here, a majority of the public is for enforcement.”

The debate over what to do about illegal immigration is heating up. Oklahoma, Utah and South Carolina are likely to pass Arizona-style measures according to the Washington Post.

A recent poll also indicate that 56 percent of voters oppose the federal lawsuit to overturn Arizona’s immigration law and 58 percent favor a law similar to Arizona’s in their own state

Rhode Island already checks immigration status and deports illegal aliens. “There are police chiefs throughout New England who hide from the issue,’’ the commander of the Rhode Island State Police told the Boston Globe. “I would feel that I’m derelict in my duties to look the other way.’’

If FAIR’s estimates are even close to correct the cost of illegal immigration is a major factor in state budgets.

“If political leaders in Washington and state capitals want to understand why the American public is demanding enforcement of our immigration laws, The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on U.S. Taxpayers, provides 113 billion good reasons,” said FAIR president Dan Stein.


Pew Hispanic Center Kansas data

Center for Immigration Studies report

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Paul formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • Christian in Austin


    You are hearing this from a white guy.


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  • Antoine Leske

    That is the biggest bunch of crap I ever heard. If anything Kansas makes hundreds of millions of dollars from undocumented workers. There is a lot of lies coming out from xenophobes around the country. Ignorant people who have no idea what they are talking about.

  • http://mellomike.com Michael Yates

    Correction: Illegal immigrants are not costing us money, welfare is. Legal residents are costing much much more. The solution is to remove incentives for freeloading. The only category that should remain on that chart is Justice, reducing $442 million to $44 million.

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  • Brittanicus

    Unknown to the American people under the requirement of 2006 Secure fence Act, within days of being ratified, Sen. Kay Baily Hutchinson, sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, (R-TX) attacked a major provisions of a second independent fence. It was then gutted under a very quiet act entitled the 2006 The omnibus Consolidated Appropriations bill. As a blogger I had to dig deep to find any mention of cutting funding, to this originally mandated law to build two separate parallel fences stretching along the Mexican-US border. So now four years later we have this violent nightmare existing on the border, that now has come back to haunt the cynics of the–REAL–border fencing. Indirectly these Senators who gutted the auxiliary fence are entirely to blame for the deaths on the border of the Cattleman, law Enforcement, US Border Patrol officers and even illegal aliens. Governor Brewer has created a fund and a website, http://www.keepazsafe.com, in mid-June to fight Prez Obama and his attorneys a right to protect Arizona and its policing laws. Brewers state government has already collected $500.000 dollars from patriotic contributers. Americans have a right to protection, when the US government considers that a corrupt administration over the border fails to protect its own people..It seems very unlikely that the drug cartels and Mexican military encroachment across the border would have been extremely difficult of passing through two fences.

    The fact that the US Border Patrol would have had more momentum, to patrol between the tracks constructed by road crews between the steel and concrete fence and the 15 foot high chain link fence adorned with razor wire.in the interior. Arizona as with California, Texas and New Mexico are the first line of defense against the 20 to 30 million foreign nationals residing illegal in this country. It looks like with each administration, Barack Obama, his Liberal progressive Czars have no intentions of enforcing the 1986 Ronald Reagan, Ted Kennedy or John McCain immigration law or even revising its contents. They want to reinvent it, so the illegal alien criminals who broke our law get–AMNESTY. If the Tea Party or millions of patriotic Americans have anything to do with this insane open door syndrome, it will never happen. Specifically now have alerted to the US population that supporting the unskilled, poor and wanton are costing taxpayers 113 billion dollars annually, according to FAIR. Another gigantic minus of $60 billion dollars earned by illegal aliens in the U.S. each year and being money-transferred out the country. This being Mexico’s largest revenue streams (after exports and oil sales) consists of money sent home by legal immigrants and illegal aliens working in America.

    Arch Enemy of immigration “Rule of Law” is Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), who because of the dense population of illegal alien workers in Nevada, is now playing politics with American sovereignty. Nevadans must be on their guard of illegal voting for Reid in the coming elections as he is Pro-Amnesty. As for California the estimated number of foreign nationals in the state is perhaps 10 million overall, so voting days must be carefully watched as should absentee ballots for voting violations. Democrat Barb Boxer is another Pro-amnesty enthusiast and must be wrestled from her political nest egg. Reid also must go as every other incumbent who is kowtowing to illegal alien constituency as with California. We as citizens-legal residents must make sure these people are—NOT–reelected. Closely scrutinize any new politician relating to their platform on illegal immigration. The power of our vote can refute them access to Washington or State government. Demand they follow the “Rule of Law” We as American voters must bombard all federal and state lawmakers at 202-224-3121 NumbersUSA has an immigration grading system showing who should not be reelected in primaries or November. Facts, figures and other statistics at Immigration Counters.

  • Mike
  • http://www.seanmahair.wordpress.com seanmahair

    Ah yes, and here we have the total disconnect. So now I ask you:


    Is it the part where these people consistently break our laws, not just the ones governing our sovereignty but those that govern who is able to get what from state and federal government over and over and over again. Many of these people are repeat offenders.

    Here is the bottom line; they are NOT citizens of this country. They do not deserve protection under our laws as they have trampled and spit upon them over and over again by invading our country, perpetration fraud to gain services and funds they are not eligible for them. They cost us millions and millions of dollars in federal and state funds to house, feed, educate and incarcerate them. If these people were or wanted to be good citizens they would OBEY the law and stay on their own side of the border.

    Why, oh why do you think they will make “good citizens”? They’ve already proven they will ignore whatever law they don’t like. What makes you think citizenship will change that attitude? After all they didn’t have to obey laws to get here, or apparently to stay here. So why would they think it expedient to follow the law now?

    So, it matters little what the exact amount of money spent is. This isn’t simply a monetary issue. It is an issue of right vs. wrong, legality vs criminality, and while I realize the the difference between right and wrong is a difficult one for some people, taking that which belongs to someone else is theft and it’s wrong no matter the reason. No matter the situation. No matter what.

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  • concerned

    I have to agree with this. These people are here illegally and demand a lot of our resources. And plus ,they just demand! You are in the dark if you think they contribute a lot to this country. Remember they are in hiding BECAUSE THEY KNOW THEYARE BREAKING THE LAWS! And Kansas is paying the price for all these years of catering to them.

    Illegal is illegal no matter how you look at it. And they still prefer to wave their Mexican Flag on our soil. So wake the hell up! And many of them preach on taking this country back for Mexico. Do some damn reading and research. They do more then work in fields for farmers ,as I can see here they are in construction and many other lines of work,which should be going to young American kids working in the summer or after school. And also jobs that a lot of our elderly people worked.

    Now I see them working on projects for ARRA which was set up to create jobs for American citizens. What are they doing there? As I see in Wichita also,they are on most projects. The EMPLOYERS need to be fined and put into prison. It is against federal laws to employ them. But again it appears today we only follow certain laws or laws our government chooses to enforce. Of course many of our politicans are criminals as well!

  • dionysius


    GO HOME…. NOW!

  • dionysius

    You have abused our hospitality

    You have created a lawless condition

    Go home, now!

  • trueblueamerican

    Illegals aren’t just taking benefits!!! They are taking all the jobs. I live in Bonner Springs and have witnessed the Pyramid roofing company, working illegal’s while many locals can’t find a job,(yes, I know many of the unemployed locals). When I asked the Pyramid contractor about the legal status of his employees; he began driving by my house and yelling obscenities. When you try to stand up to them they intimidate and bully you; I never thought I would see this day. This kind of thing is happening all over and many people just stand by idly, doing nothing about it, (Cowards, self absorbed assholes). I wonder how some people believe illegals are a benefit? Our own countrymen are unemployed and struggling while these invaders work and steal public benefits that the rest of us are taxed to death to pay for. I can’t stand the idea that the thousands that I pay in taxes, are going to illegal invaders.

    This is just one small example of what’s happening, I could write many pages of stories like this in my very own little town. I can only imagine how bad it is in larger towns.

    For God’s Sake…Wake up America!!!

  • http://www.immigrationpolicy.org Wendy Sefsaf

    FAIR routinely ignores the tremendous economic benefits brought to the Kansas state economy and what mass deportation would do to harm said economy. Please take a look at the Immigration Policy Center’s fact sheet on Kansas here: http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/new-americans-sunflower-state

  • Mike

    I think this is a very conservative number. the article even states where the bulk of the expense comes from. It omits several things. Some of the biggest omissions which I have personally witnessed in Wichita is abuse of private charity. I used to donate clothes to kloths vloset which is operated by volunteers from the Methodist churches. I later found out that it is ransacked by illegals daily who take multiple bags of stuff they don’t use but just resell for like 5 dollars a grocery sack, They pay no attention to sizes and simply shop for name brands fancy labels,Private charity food pantries are also flooded with scamming illegals. No accounting was given for property loss from uninsured motorists and burglary either and illegals are very high percentage perpetrators as a group.Then there is the goldbricking on the job. ever driven by a road crew? 30 illegals wandering around doing nothing while one white guy in a machine is doing all the work.No very few illegals actually contribute anything to a states economy which is much of the reason California is in such dire financial straits.My guess is illegals actually cost us about 2/3 again that number since it is limited to just public expenses and makes no attempt to account for all the private expenses listed above