IP-5-1995 (May 1995)
Author: Linda Gorman, Roger Drake
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In Brief. . .
Estimates of illegal immigrants in Colorado vary from 17,000 to 60,000.
Studies have found that immigration has its most harmful economic impact on persons who are themselves recent immigrants. A 10 percent increase in immigration cause the wages of recent U.S. immigrants to fall by at least two percent.
Other than recent immigrants, the wages of the lowest skilled natives suffer most. About “a third of the 10 percentage point decline in the relative wage of high school dropouts between 1980 and 1988 [could] be attributed to the less skilled immigration flow.”
Family reunification was given the highest priority under 1965 U.S. immigration law. The result of that change has been a significant decline in immigrant skills. By 1987, only four percent of the legal immigrants entered the U.S. because of their skills.
The explosion of social legislation that began at the federal level in 1965 produced new mechanisms by which some immigrants impose significant economic and political costs on natives–namely welfare and quotas.
One study shows that immigrants now receive cash benefits from public assistance programs that are 56 percent higher than would have been the case if immigrants used the welfare system to the same extent as natives.
The cost of welfare for illegal immigrants in Colorado is approximately $9,272,762.
Colorado taxpayers spend roughly $59,510,426 on the education of illegal immigrants in the public school system.
The cost of Medicaid in Colorado for illegal immigrants to taxpayers is $80 million. $37.6 million of this amount comes out of the Colorado general fund.
Of the 8,200 prisoners in the Colorado penal system 371 (4.5 percent) are non- citizens. The cost of incarceration for each of them is about $20,000, excluding the costs of prison construction. At this rate, the state is spending more than $7.42 million per year for these criminals.
Many people have been dumbfounded by the debate over California’s proposition 187. That serious consideration has been granted to the notion that American government should force American taxpayers to buy services for people who have no legal right to be in the United States is, quite simply, astonishing.