21 Surprising Facts About Illegal Immigration
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The Fiscal Times
January 28, 2013

After taking a drubbing in the last election from the Hispanics who voted for President Obama — he received a whopping 71 percent of the Hispanic vote — Republicans may have seen the light on immigration reform. Earlier today, a bipartisan committee of top players from both parties announced a draft reform plan that could bring more than 11 million undocumented immigrants out of the shadows.

The 6-person panel has put forward “comprehensive immigration reform legislation that we hope can pass the Senate in overwhelming fashion,” said Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) this afternoon in a press conference on Capitol Hill. “Americans overwhelmingly oppose illegal immigration and support legal immigration… We believe this is the year Congress finally gets this done.”

“I hope that some of my colleagues in the House will [agree with this],” said Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) this afternoon. Illegal immigrants “will have to pay back taxes and pay for their citizenship, so I do not see a scenario where it would cost us money,” he added. He also said “there’s [now] a realization [by Republicans] that if we continue to polarize the Latino/Hispanic vote, the demographics indicate that the chances of our being in the majority our minimal.”

But the battle for reform is going to be hard fought, as it has been for years. Late Monday afternoon Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said he has “deep concerns with the proposed path to citizenship” in the legislation. “To allow those who came here illegally to be placed on such a path is both inconsistent with rule of law and profoundly unfair to the millions of legal immigrants who waited years, if not decades, to come to America legally,” he said in a statement.

The Fiscal Times takes a look at some of the key numbers and costs associated with immigration – including illegal immigration – in this country.

11 million
The estimated number of undocumented immigrants (UI) in the United States today. That’s an increase of roughly one third since 2000, when there were 8.5 million UIs, according to the Center for American Progress.

86
Percentage of UIs who have been living in the U.S. for 7 years or longer.

327,000
Number of UIs apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol agents in fiscal year 2011, the majority of whom were seeking employment in the U.S.

80
Estimated percentage of UIs who are from Mexico and Latin America.

9
Percentage of UIs from Asia.

11
Percentage of UIs from Europe, Canada, Africa and other countries.

$11.2 billion
Amount that UIs paid in taxes in 2010, according to the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy. About half of all illegal immigrants pay some form of federal taxes.

$4.2 billion
Amount the federal government paid to individuals with children in 2005 whose tax bills dip below zero. The Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) is heavily claimed by UIs, according to Factcheck.org.

$4.3 billion
Annual estimated cost of taxpayer-provided health care for uninsured UIs, as of 2010, according to the Center for Immigration Studies. About half of that goes to people with incomes below 133 percent of poverty.

$2.6 trillion
An estimate of costs that could result from putting roughly 10 million adult illegal immigrants on a guaranteed pathway to citizenship, made in 2007 by the Heritage Foundation.

$48.6 billion
The estimated cost to taxpayers of covering 3.1 million amnestied immigrants during the budget period 2014-2019, in which Medicaid expansion takes effect, according to the same source.

$40 billion
The annual cost of educating illegals and their offspring in this country, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.

$1.5 trillion
The amount that would be added to this country’s cumulative GDP over 10 years with a comprehensive immigration reform plan that includes legalization for all UIs currently living in the U.S., according to the Center for American Progress.

$4.5 billion to $5.4 billion
The amount of additional net tax revenue that would accrue to the federal government over 3 years if all current undocumented immigrants were legalized.

$23,482
The current cost of apprehending, detaining, processing, and transporting one individual in deportation proceedings.

5
The number of traditional “gateway” states where large populations of undocumented immigrants have settled: California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Texas.

1 million
Estimated number of immigrants deported under the Obama administration’s immigrant enforcement program, Secure Communities, which checks the status of immigrants booked into county jails in participating jurisdictions.

$329 billion
What passage of the DREAM Act would add to the U.S. economy, according to the Center for American Progress.

40 million
The approximate number of today’s foreign-born population of the U.S., which has tripled in the past four decades to reach roughly 13 percent of the total population.

Managing Editor Maureen Mackey oversees scheduling and work flow and also writes and edits features and reports on a wide array of subjects. She spent more than 20 years as a senior book and features editor at Reader’s Digest.