Skip to comments.Immigrants pay off big for Texas' economy
Posted on 12/08/2006 8:17:53 AM PST by Graybeard58
AUSTIN Undocumented immigrants have boosted the state's economy by $17.7 billion and haven't been a drain on state government but they did cost local governments $929 million in 2005, the Texas comptroller's office reported Thursday.
The report by Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn is the first comprehensive effort by the state government to calculate the benefits and costs of having 1.4 million to 1.6 million undocumented immigrants in Texas.
Overall, the survey found undocumented immigrants pay more in taxes than they receive in state services.
But the report's results quickly became part of a brewing legislative debate over whether it is right for people who are in the country illegally to receive services paid for by citizens and legal resident taxpayers.
Most of the undocumented immigrants in Texas are from Latin America, predominantly Mexico. They are the working poor, doing service and construction jobs. But they also will send $5.2 billion home to their native countries this year, according to the Inter-American Development Bank.
In her recent unsuccessful campaign for governor, Strayhorn said the federal government needs to halt illegal immigration. On Thursday, she said her report showed the need for federal immigration reform to make sure needed workers are in the country legally.
"It certainly demonstrates that you need a guest worker program, but you also need a fair immigration plan," Strayhorn said.
The Strayhorn report used a model that was built on how much undocumented immigrants earn as well as the return on capital from their labor to produce an impact on the gross state product. The $17.7 billion positive impact on the state's economy does not factor in any effects of the immigrants sending money home.
The report estimated there are 135,000 undocumented children in the public school system, costing the state $957 million a year. Another 3,792 are in state colleges, costing about $11.2 million.
The cost for the state supplying health care programs for undocumented immigrants was set at $57.9 million.
The state prison system on an average day held 8,931 illegal immigrants, costing a total of $130.6 million a year, the report stated.
The total cost for state services was $1.15 billion, but undocumented immigrants, through sales and property taxes, provided $1.58 billion in taxes for the state. That was a net positive impact to state finances of $424.7 million, Strayhorn said.
But there was a negative impact on local governments.
The total cost to incarcerate immigrants who commit crimes was estimated to be $49 million for counties statewide.
Strayhorn's office estimated the cost was $18.9 million for Harris County, the highest in the state. Hidalgo County in the Rio Grande Valley was second at $5.2 million.
Bexar County was fifth in the state, with an annual cost of $3.9 million.
Another $92.9 million is being spent on courts and probation systems to handle undocumented immigrants.
The biggest local cost was for indigent health care provided by counties and local hospital districts, estimated at $1.3 billion statewide.
But undocumented immigrants in 2005 paid $513 million in local sales and property taxes, leaving a $929 million gap payment gap for local services.
State Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, who has introduced controversial legislation to end birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants, said he believes the costs are much higher than those in Strayhorn's report.
Citing a study done by the conservative Lone Star Foundation, Berman said the total cost to the state is $4.5 billion a year to provide services to immigrants, but he said they pay just $1 billion in tax collections.
"This is the net loss to the taxpayers of the state," he said.
Berman said he also supports a guest worker program because the immigrants are needed for the economy. But he said he does not want them to receive any state or local services that are not mandated by federal law.
I'll say it again; Just think of how rich we'd be if we had another 40-50 million illegals.
I wonder how much pedophiles or car thieves contribute to the economy?
battle socialism, not immigration...
I don't pretend to know much about return on capital and stuff like that, but I find it hard to believe that for every $1 in services the cost, the illegals boost the economy of Texas by $19. Particularly since they aren't typically in great-paying jobs anyway.
I'm more than willing to be shown where I'm wrong...nicely.
Please pile on the negative comments, this shows a slight positive aspect of immigration - which is unacceptable.
I simply don't believe these numbers. There was an agenda, from the get go, to demonstrate how much immigrants "benefit" the state.
Given that there is a business on every other block and a Western Union in many grocery stores doing this it must be HUGE. The Western Union in Randalls on Hwy 6 in Sugar Land has forms in Spanish to be used for money going to Mexico in front of every other form.
Well holy sheep-pucky Batman!!!
I guess this makes it ok for them to be here anyway...
Never mind it still cost "US" 929 million dollars...
And that it "BENEFITTED" our "GOVERNMENT" 17.1 BILLION dollars...
Thats just seems like a "do nothing about it" boon to our elected elite...
Makes total sense now...
Pretty soon I see us being told that "spanish" will be our second language...We'll have to attend classes, take tests, be ready to conduct business in it as well...
All in the need to be inclusive, sensitive, and friendly to those who have (and will soon be pardoned) for breaking our law...
Ohhhh, I just can't wait.../big-time sarcasm
I am not going to argue either way but do keep in mind that Texas does not have a State income tax and therefore most taxes come from sales tax which the illegals do pay. California on the other hand is in a very different situation by having a State income tax which the illegals do not pay into.
I didn't see an estimate on how much it costs a family who had a child molested by an illegal immigrant.Did it mention the cost of car insurance or the injuries and death caused by non insured illegal drivers?Maybe they should add the costs that come from all the drugs that cross our border with the illegal aliens.I don't even want to think about the price we will pay when a few terrorist mingle in with the illegals crossing our border.
6 posted on 12/07/2006 11:04:12 PM CST by peeps36
The economic issues are not the crucial ones, in my view. The real issue is one of assimilation. When immigrants come to the US because they believe this is the greatest nation on Earth, and they are grateful for the opportunity to become 'American', they strengthen our country. On the other hand, if they are here only to make money, do not identify themselves as Americans, and do not have allegiance to this nation, they weaken us, irrespective of the sum total of their economic contributions.
Regarding the battle against socialism, I would like to see statistics delineating what percentages of these immigrants are pro or anti-socialism. I firmly believe that radical changes in voting/political demographics that can occur as a consequence of insensible immigration policy can destabilize this, or any nation.
Exactumundo! Like the housing bubble bursting at any second, with dims now in control the MSM's attitude has done a 180.
And now the Dixie Chicks are all the rage...
Don't know where I found this, but here's one take
An estimated 11 million Mexican citizens are in the United States, about half of them illegally. Last year, Mexican migrants sent home more than $20 billion in remittances, the country's second leading source of foreign income after oil. In the first eight months of 2006, remittances rose by nearly 20 percent over the same period last year, according to figures released by the Mexican Central Bank on Mond
As far as I can tell, they don't factor in the cost of providing "free" public education to illegals and their children, and providing bi-lingual classes, translators, special remedial services, "free" breakfasts/lunches, etc.