15 October 2006

Illegal Immigration, Pt. II

In the previous post, commentor Mark wondered about the contributions illegal workers make to social security. A quick web search returned the following information.

From an article by California Public Radio:

Many economists argue that the benefit of illegal labor goes far beyond lower produce prices; illegal immigrant workers in the United States provide the Social Security system with as much as $7 billion per year.

"Our assumption is that about three-quarters of other-than-legal immigrants pay payroll taxes," said Stephen C. Goss, Social Security's chief actuary.

However, illegals also cost the system because they use government services. A 2004 study by the Center for Immigration Studies looked at census data and estimated that

...households headed by illegal aliens used $10 billion more in government services than they paid in taxes in 2002. These figures are only for the federal government; costs at the state and local level are also likely to be significant.

Combining these two studies suggests that illegals cost about $3-4 billion more than they contribute, at least at the federal level. I am reluctant to accept that as a final figure since the actual economic cost of illegal workers probably requires a complex analysis that would have to factor in things like downstream price reductions, for example. But it's a ballpark number to think about.

My web search also returned an interesting article titled "Why the Federal Government Can't End Illegal Immigration".

1 comment:

Mark said...

Good point but would the households still take in the money without the illegal worker?

(If an illegal worker has three kids born in the U.S., couldn't they, as legal citizens, continue to draw money even if he were deported?)

Overall, I'd bet this makes calculating civilian deaths in Iraq look easy.