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Anti-Immigrant Group Recommends Economic Self-Destruction for Arizona

Released on Tue, May 18, 2010

Washington D.C. - In data released "exclusively to FoxNews.com," the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) - architects of the new Arizona law SB1070 - claim that unauthorized immigrants in Arizona are costing the state's taxpayers $2.7 billion per year for education, medical care, and incarceration. The release of this "fiscal analysis" takes advantage of the absence of any legitimate economic analysis by the state on what SB1070 will cost. However, judging from FAIR's track record when it comes to these kinds of state estimates, it is likely that their numbers are virtually meaningless. In its most recent state studies on unauthorized immigration in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, for instance, FAIR has dramatically exaggerated the fiscal "costs" imposed by unauthorized immigrants by including schooling and medical care for their native-born, U.S.-citizen children in its estimate, and conveniently forgetting to account for the economic role that unauthorized workers play as consumers who help support local economies.

FAIR's latest data fails to account for the property, sales, and income taxes paid by unauthorized immigrants. Nor does the data account for the consumer purchasing power of unauthorized immigrants - what they spend on goods, services, and housing - which actually creates jobs and generates additional tax revenue. They seem to forget that deporting workers also means deporting consumers and taxpayers.

However, in all fairness, they do acknowledge that the costs of implementing SB1070 will add to the economic strain on the state. In the absence of any state-generated fiscal data on the cost of the law's implementation, some Arizonans have pointed to a fact sheet produced by Yuma County Sheriff Ralph E. Ogden in response to similar legislation proposed in 2006. The Yuma county snapshot of enforcement costs is a sobering reminder of the overwhelming financial costs - up to $100 million for just one Arizona county - that will ensue if the state attempts to enforce its new law.  Ultimately, this law will cost Arizona hundreds of millions of dollars to implement. Yet those costs are only part of the story and don't even account for lost revenue from losing a part of the workforce, not to mention a growing boycott and expensive lawsuits from which the state will have to defend itself.

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