The Real Cost of Illegal Immigration

Posted on Posted in Reflections

Few issues are fraught with so many emotional twists and turns as immigration. People on both sides of this issue share an empathy for the poor and displaced. But we are also concerned about the impact of illegal immigration on the security, economy and health of our country.

Illegal Immigration Costs Billions

The economic costs of illegal immigration are staggering. It’s estimated that Americans pay $200 billion annually in illegal immigration costs, including:

An estimated $18.5 billion in health care costs
paid by federal, state and local taxpayers plus uncompensated care borne by hospitals and our insurance premiums. Source: American Enterprise Institute

Another $59.8 billion to educate the children of
illegal immigrants, borne almost entirely by property taxes at the state and local levels. Source: Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

Billions of dollars more to fight the war on drugs, fueled by opioids that kill more than 70,000 people a year.

The costs of border security, enforcement and detention.

In recent history, the bulk of illegal immigration has come from Mexican citizens, but now things are shifting as we see growing percentages of Central and South Americans coming through Mexico to the U.S. “Plus, men, women and children from central Africa–mostly the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola–are showing up at the United States’ southwest border after embarking on a months’ long journey,” according to the New York Times.


U.S. Border Patrol Southwest Border Apprehensions by Citizenship, 2008, 2013, 2018


Note: Figures may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding. Sources: Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Homeland Security Border Security Metrics Report (Washington, DC: DHS, 2018), available online; U.S. Customs and Border Protection, “U.S. Border Patrol Nationwide Apprehensions by Citizenship and Sector, FY2007- FY2018,” accessed April 19, 2019, available online.


Infectious Disease a New Threat

While Americans are being reawakened to the imperative of getting their children and themselves vaccinated against common diseases like measles–which was practically eradicated—there is no requirement for proof of vaccination from those entering this country except for those migrating legally.

Infectious diseases are an equal opportunity scourge. Measles, tuberculosis, typhus, Ebola, zika and others know no boundaries. With 100,000+ people a month being apprehended trying to enter the U.S. illegally–plus thousands more we don’t catch–there is no practical way to enforce any massive health check. Government and non-profit agencies are “seeding” the problem when they relocate migrants to far flung cities across the U.S.

A group called Independent Women’s Voice ( is trying to address this issue. It has launched a petition for the White House to redouble its efforts to secure the border, while also asking the CDC to expand the rule requiring proof of vaccination to everyone entering the country.


Tammy Bruce, president of IWV says, “Something must be done. This is not a political issue. If we are serious about saving lives and stopping a humanitarian crisis affecting citizens and migrants alike, securing the border and requiring proof of vaccination for everyone entering the country legally must be done.”

Do our lawmakers not remember the polio epidemic of the 1940s and ‘50s the AIDs crisis of the 1980s and the Asian flu outbreaks of recent years? Write your Member of Congress and the President. We must act now to protect the health and safety of our country!