[Marxism] Undocumented Immigrants in Texas:Report by Texas Comptroller of Public Accts
Erik Carlos Toren
ectoren at sbcglobal.net
Sat Dec 9 10:33:35 MST 2006
Nothing new for those us in immigrant rights groups, but good to see a
report validating some of our points.
por el socialismo,
Undocumented Immigrants in Texas:
A Financial Analysis of the Impact to the State Budget and Economy
Texas tallies costs, benefits of illegal immigrants
By R.G. RATCLIFFE
AUSTIN - Illegal immigrants have boosted the state's economy by $17.7
billion and haven't been a drain on state government - but they did
cost local governments $929 million in 2005, the Comptroller's Office
The report by Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn is the first
comprehensive effort by the state government to calculate the benefits
and costs of having 1.4 million to 1.6 million illegal immigrants in
Overall, the survey found that illegal immigrants pay more in taxes
than they receive in state services.
The report's results quickly became part of a brewing legislative
debate about whether it is right for people who are in the country
illegally to receive services paid for by legal taxpayers.
Most of the illegal immigrants in Texas are from Latin America,
predominantly Mexico. Most are the working poor, doing service and
construction jobs. But they also will send $5.2 billion home to their
native countries this year, according to the Inter-American Development
In her recent unsuccessful campaign for governor, Strayhorn said the
federal government needs to halt illegal immigration. Thursday, she
said her report showed the need for federal immigration reform to make
sure needed workers are in the country legally.
"It certainly demonstrates that you need a guest-worker program, but
you also need a fair immigration plan," Strayhorn said.
The Strayhorn report used a model that was built on how much immigrants
earn as well as the return on capital from their labor to produce an
impact on the gross state product.
The $17.7 billion positive impact on the state's economy does not
factor in any effects of the immigrants sending money home.
The report estimated that there are 135,000 undocumented children in
the public school system, costing the state slightly less than $957
million a year. Another 3,792 are in state colleges, costing about
Medical services costly
The total cost for state services was $1.15 billion, but illegal
immigrants, through sales and property taxes, provided $1.58 billion in
taxes for the state. That was a net positive impact to state finances
of $424.7 million, Strayhorn said.
But there was a negative impact on local governments.
The total cost to incarcerate illegal immigrants who commit crimes was
estimated to be $49 million for counties.
Strayhorn's office estimated the cost was $18.9 million for Harris
County, the highest in the state. Hidalgo County in the Lower Rio
Grande Valley was second at $5.2 million. They were followed by Travis
and Dallas counties.
Bexar County was fifth in the state, with an annual cost of $3.9
Another $92.9 million is being spent on courts and probation systems to
handle illegal-immigrant cases.
The biggest local cost was for indigent health care by counties and
local hospital districts.
Medical care for illegal immigrants cost the Harris County Hospital
District $97.3 million, or 14 percent of the system's total operating
cost in 2005.
No similar breakdown was provided for any other health care systems.
The report was warmly greeted by a group of Texas businesses lobbying
for comprehensive immigration reform.
Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association of Business and a
member of Texas Employers for Immigration Reform, said the report
showed how important the illegal-immigrant work force is to growing the
He said shortfalls in paying for services at the local level should be
picked up by the federal government.
"A growing, prosperous Texas economy needs a growing population.
Immigrants fill an enormous gap," Hammond said. "Any immigration reform
that ignores the needs of our economy will only delay reform and
promote further illegal immigration, not end it."
Berman cites other figures
State Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, who has introduced legislation to end
birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants, said he
thinks the costs are much higher than those in Strayhorn's report.
Citing a study done by the conservative Lone Star Foundation, Berman
said the total cost to the state is $4.5 billion a year to provide
services to illegal immigrants, but he said they pay just $1 billion in
"This is the net loss to the taxpayers of the state," he said.
He said he does not trust Strayhorn's numbers because she "politicized"
her office while running for governor.
Berman said he also supports a guest-worker program because the
immigrants are needed for the economy.
But he said he does not want them to receive any state or local
services not mandated by federal law.
Federal law requires the Texas and local governments to educate the
children of illegal immigrants and to provide certain levels of health
care, especially for medical emergencies and births.
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