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Illegal Immigration Costs Colorado Nearly $1.1 Billion Annually (12/12/08)

Contact: Jack Martin of FAIR

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A report prepared by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) finds that illegal immigration costs Colorado about $1.1 billion a year, or about $612 for every native-born household in the state. The report, The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Coloradans, looks at just three essential state provided services and programs: K-12 education, public health care, and incarceration from criminal illegal aliens.

According the report, illegal aliens in Colorado pay about $160 million in taxes, reducing the net costs to the state to $912 million annually. However, since most of the jobs currently held by illegal aliens would likely be filled by legal workers, at higher wages, the taxes paid by illegal aliens would have been collected anyway.

The release of The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Coloradans coincides with worsening fiscal news for the state. While the state spends more than $1 billion on services for illegal aliens, Colorado is faced with a $101 million budget shortfall for the current fiscal year.

    --  Education. K-12 education for the estimated 84,000 children of
        illegal aliens attending Colorado public schools costs
        taxpayers $925 million. It costs the state an additional $68
        million a year to provide for the special educational needs of
        nonEnglish-speaking kids.
    --  Health care. Uncompensated health care for illegal aliens costs
        Colorado $78 million a year.
    --  Incarceration. In addition to the human and economic costs of
        crimes committed by criminal illegal aliens, incarcerating the
        perpetrators carries a $38 million annual price tag.

"Even in the best of economic times, $1.1 billion would be an unnecessary and unjustifiable burden on Colorado taxpayers," said Dan Stein, president of FAIR. "With Colorado, like nearly every other state, forced to cut vital programs and services these costs are simply untenable."

In recent years, Colorado has taken limited steps to enforce laws against illegal immigration, including having two police units trained to identify and detain suspected illegal aliens. Gov. Bill Ritter has also appointed a special panel to examine other options for local immigration enforcement. "The costs of illegal immigration in Colorado are ten times greater than the current fiscal shortfall," noted Stein. "Given the stark realities faced by the state, it is critical that Colorado take the necessary steps to reduce the $1.1 billion burden associated with illegal immigration."

The full report, The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Coloradans, is available at www.fairus.org.

About FAIR

Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country''s largest and oldest immigration reform group. With over 250,000 members nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests. FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced.


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