Local Fiscal Effects of Illegal Immigration: Report of a by Committee on National Statistics, National Research Council

By Committee on National Statistics, National Research Council

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Extra resources for Local Fiscal Effects of Illegal Immigration: Report of a Workshop (Compass Series)

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S. S. Department of Justice jointly asked the Urban Institute to estimate the fiscal impact of undocumented immigration in seven statesArizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Texas. Those states were selected because they had the largest number of undocumented aliens, according to INS estimates for October 1992. OMB sponsored the study because several states were filing lawsuits requesting federal reimbursement for local state services for illegal immigrants. , 1994). The Urban Institute study also examined a limited number of cost and revenue items.

A related issue, and one difficult to evaluate in monetary terms, is the social cost of adding children to a classroom or school if the addition of illegal immigrant children results in increases in classroom size. At what point, if any, does increasing class size affect the quality of education? A workshop participant pointed out that the concept of education quality has proven elusive and difficult to measure. The other side of the issue is the difficulty of measuring the positive externalities of public educationthe value of socializing immigrant (and other) children into civic life, the cultural and personal value of a literate and numerate population, or the greater diversity that immigrants bring to the classroom.

Workshop participants focused on the findings regarding illegal immigrants. Huddle estimates costs for 22 programs (14 programs for illegal immigrants) but concentrated his analysis on the three broad categories of public assistance, criminal justice, and education. Revenue estimates included federal income and excise taxes; state income, sales, and excise taxes; the state lottery (for Texas); and county sales and property taxes. It is not clear if federal taxes were included in the revenues paid by the immigrant groups.

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