California’s Illegal Immigration Tab: $23 Billion

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

September 28, 2017
pile of money representing the billions california spends on illegal immigrants
California Taxpayers Shell Out $6,517 per illegal alien to fund services.
The Federation for American Immigration reform recently published its latest analysis that measures illegal immigration’s cost to taxpayers. The study, titled “The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers is here, and it provides a state-by-state breakdown.

FAIR estimated that the U.S. total illegal alien population is 12.5 million, and that at the federal, state, and local levels, taxpayers underwrite approximately $134.9 billion in services to cover costs directly associated with illegal aliens, and their 4.2 million citizen children. Illegal immigration’s aggregate fiscal burden is approximately $8,075 per illegal alien family member, and nationwide totals $116 billion net of taxes illegal immigrants paid. A 2013 FAIR study put illegal immigration’s total cost at approximately $113 billion; during the ensuing four-year period, taxpayers funded $3 billion more for illegal aliens’ social services.

In California, the state with the most illegal immigrants, illegal immigration’s total cost is $23 billion; each taxpayer pays $6, 517 per alien. California, it must be noted, has billions in unfunded liabilities, the infamous “Wall of Debt.”

Californians and residents of the other 49 states should demand to know why, with a $20 trillion deficit, and in an era of rising living costs, shrinking resources, growing income inequality, and job insecurity the federal government is willing to underwrite a $116 billion tab for illegally present aliens. 

Go to the CAPS Action Alert page here, search for your representative by Zip Code, and urge him to support sensible bills that would discourage illegal immigration like the RAISE Act and S. 179, mandatory E-Verify.

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