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Faculty & Research - Harvard Business School

Date of publication: 2017-08-24 22:26

The current Heritage Foundation study uses the Department of Homeland Security reports on the characteristics of unlawful immigrants to identify in the Current Population Survey (CPS) of the . Census a population of foreign-born persons who have a very high probability of being unlawful immigrants. (The CPS is used in place of the similar ACS because it has more detailed income and benefit information.)89 The procedures used to select unlawful immigrants within the CPS included the following.

Historical Cost Accounting Versus Current Cost Accounting

Unless otherwise noted, aggregate fiscal figures for unlawful immigrant households appearing in this paper have been increased to include the undercounted unlawful immigrant households. It is quite possible that the number of uncounted unlawful immigrants residing in the . exceeds million.

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By contrast, there are very few elderly persons in unlawful immigrant households. Only percent of persons in those households are over 65 years of age compared to percent of persons in non-immigrant households. The absence of elderly persons in unlawful immigrant households significantly reduces current government costs however, if unlawful immigrants remain in the . permanently, the number who are elderly will obviously increase significantly.

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The share of Medicaid spending on the elderly in institutions was assumed to equal the share of Medicaid spending on the elderly in the non-institutional population for each of the eight groups. The analysis assumed there were no elderly unlawful immigrants receiving Medicaid in nursing homes.

Unlawful immigrant adults would not receive Medicaid benefits under current law or during the interim period. In the full amnesty period, the analysis assumes that the immigrant/non-immigrant difference would have diminished slightly during the full amnesty period, non-disabled adults who were formerly unlawful immigrants are assumed to receive normal Medicaid benefits that are 65 percent lower than those received by similar non-immigrants during the full amnesty period.

Unlawful immigration and amnesty for current unlawful immigrants can pose large fiscal costs for . taxpayers. Government provides four types of benefits and services that are relevant to this issue:

The accounting framework used in the present analysis is the same framework employed by the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences in its study of the fiscal impact of immigration, The New Americans. [69] Following the NRC framework, the present study:

Public Education. Government provides primary, secondary, post-secondary, and vocational education to individuals. In most cases, the government pays directly for the cost of educational services provided. In other cases, such as the Pell Grant program, the government in effect provides money to an eligible individual who then spends it on educational services.

Information on this point is available from the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), which provides federal reimbursement to state and local governments for the costs of incarcerating unlawful aliens in state and local jails. While unlawful immigrants are less than 9 percent of the . population, SCAAP data show that 5 percent of inmates in state prisons and 6 percent of inmates in local jails are unlawful State and local governments rarely, if ever, incarcerate immigrants merely for violation of . immigration law instead, unlawful immigrants are incarcerated for standard criminal offenses such as assault, robbery, burglary, homicide, and drug

[76] The Consumer Expenditure Survey provided information on consumption of specific items relative to income for different age and education groups. These consumption-to-income ratios were applied to the CPS income data to estimate consumption levels for various families. For additional information, see Appendix D.

Government spent $876 billion on population-based services in FY 7565. Of this amount, some $ billion went for ordinary services such as police and parks, and $ billion went for administrative support functions.

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