Politics
Carolina Fuentes talks with worker at the Sacramento county welfare office, as her daughter, Katherine, 5, waits, in Sacramento, Calif. in 2009. AP Images. Carolina Fuentes talks with worker at the Sacramento county welfare office, as her daughter, Katherine, 5, waits, in Sacramento, Calif. in 2009. AP Images.  

Report: Legalized immigrants would receive $592,000 more in benefits than they pay in taxes

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

On Monday, The Heritage Foundation released its highly anticipated report on the cost to taxpayers of legalizing the 11 million illegal immigrants, as proposed in the “Gang of Eight’s” immigration reform bill.

According to the conservative think tank, “the average adult unlawful immigrant would receive $592,000 more in government benefits” than he or she would pay out in taxes over the course of their lifetime, and the net cost will be at least $6.3 trillion.

Heritage Foundation scholar Robert Rector’s examination of the long-term costs focused on Obamacare, Social Security, other entitlements, and the more than 80 means-tested assistance programs.

Rector further estimated that the typical illegal immigrant, if legalized, would live for 50 years and by retirement would pull in $3 in Social Security and Medicare for every dollar paid in Federal Insurance Contribution Act taxes.

The deficit, Heritage asserts, is largely due to the average education level of illegal immigrants: While well-educated households tend to be “net tax contributors,” those without a high school degree tend to be “net tax consumers.” The report goes on to assert that the typical illegal immigrant has just a 10th grade education.

“The fact that the average household gets $31,600 in government benefits each year is a shock. The fact that a household headed by an individual with less than a high school degree gets $46,600 is a bigger one,” the report reads, going on to assert that after “amnesty, the fiscal costs of former unlawful immigrant households will be roughly the same as those of lawful immigrant and non-immigrant households with the same level of education. Because U.S. government policy is highly redistributive, those costs are very large. Those who claim that amnesty will not create a large fiscal burden are simply in a state of denial concerning the underlying redistributional nature of government policy in the 21st century.”

According to the report, over the course of their lives illegal immigrants would receive $9.4 trillion in government benefits and pay $3.1 trillion — creating a net $6.3 trillion.

The Senate is expected to mark up the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill Thursday.

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