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August 13, 2010
The Fiscal Burden of Educating Children of Illegal Aliens
According to a new report from the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the single largest cost of illegal immigration is educating the children of illegal aliens. Of the estimated $113 billion the U.S. spends on illegal immigration annually, roughly $52 billion goes toward educating the children of illegal aliens.
The report, The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on U.S. Taxpayers, estimates that state and local governments spend nearly $49.4 billion per year to educate the children of illegal aliens while the federal government spends about $2.1 billion.
Here's how the $49.4 billion breaks down: $40.9 billion for K-12 education, $8.3 billion for English language instruction for limited English speakers, and $244 million for subsidized post-secondary tuitions.
Here's how the $2.1 billion breaks down: $1.3 billion for supplemental funding to improve the academic performance of students from poor families, $538 million for supplemental education programs for Limited English Proficient students, and $237 million for supplemental education programs for migrant students.
The $49.4 billion that state and local governments spend each year to educate the children of illegal aliens is more than 40 percent of the $121 billion cumulative budget shortfall that 46 states are facing.
In Arizona, for example, approximately $1.6 billion is spent annually to educate the children of illegal aliens. That's more than half of the state's projected budget shortfall of $3.1 billion in fiscal 2011.
While U.S. taxpayers are spending more now than ever before to educate the children of illegal aliens, the education levels of new immigrants-both legal and illegal-have plummeted relative to non-immigrants since the 1960s.
In the special report, Importing Poverty: Immigration and Poverty in the U.S.: A Book of Charts, Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Robert Rector explains that the increasing flood of poorly educated immigrants is the result of two factors: "the failure to enforce existing laws against hiring illegal immigrants and lax border enforcement, which together have encouraged massive illegal low-skilled immigration over the U.S.-Mexican border" and "a legal immigration system that favors kinship ties over skills and education."
Thus, until the U.S. federal government acts to reduce the number of illegal aliens, U.S. taxpayers will continue to carry the increasing fiscal burden of educating the children of illegal aliens.
And until the U.S. federal government creates a more selective immigration policy that encourages the immigration of highly educated and skilled individuals, the education levels of new immigrants will continue to be low and place a severe strain on education resources.
However, the Obama administration is not likely to change the immigration status quo despite the fact that public opinion polls show that Americans overwhelmingly favor reducing illegal immigration, increasing enforcement, and making immigration policy work in the best interest of the U.S.
The immigration status quo will remain because the Obama administration is focused on winning the Hispanic vote for the Democratic Party.
The dreams from the Founding Fathers did not include indiscriminate mass immigration, but the dreams from the Obama administration do.
And U.S. taxpayers get to foot the bill to make those dreams come true.
Bill Costello, M.Ed., is the president of U.S.-based Making Minds Matter, LLC and the author of Awaken Your Birdbrain: Using Creativity to Get What You Want. He can be reached at www.makingmindsmatter.com.