The Costs of Immigration

Research Finds that Immigration Costs Nearly $30 billion a year

Immigration is expensive and the best way to reduce the expense is to lower the level of immigration. Until recently, it has been difficult to get estimates of how large the cost is. But, with the American public more and more concerned, the public debate over immigration reform has sparked a spate of new reports on the cost of immigration. While there have been studies before on isolated costs of immigration to particular areas, it is only recent studies that have estimated the overall cost of immigration to the United States.

There are three principal reports that try to calculate the amount of tax revenues immigrants generate and weigh it against the cost burden they impose to come up with an estimate of the net cost. These three reports are the Huddle study, the Urban Institute study, and the CIS study.

The Huddle Study

“The Costs of Immigration,” by Dr. Donald Huddle of Rice University, commonly known as the Huddle study, was the first report to estimate the net cost of immigration to the United States. It was first released in 1993, and has since been updated. In its most recent version, it esitimates that post-1969 immigrants create a net deficit of $44.2 billion annually.

The Urban Institute Study

“Immigration and Immigrants: Setting the Record Straight,” by Michael Fix and Jeffery Passel of the Urban Institute, commonly known as the Urban Institute study, was specifically designed to counter the net cost claims of the Huddle study. The Urban Institute study, released in 1994, found that post- 1969 immigrants create a net benefit of $28.7 billion annually.

The CIS Study

“The Costs of Immigration: Assessing a Conflicted Issue,” by the Center for Immigration Studies, commonly known as the CIS study, seeks to correct the flaws of the Urban Institute study. The CIS study calculates that post-1969 immigrants create a net deficit of $29.1 billion annually. In our view, the CIS study remains the definitive report on the cost of immigration to the nation.

Federation for American Immigration Reform, October 1994,sg.