12:00 PM EDT, March 30, 2012
In his recent op-ed, "Sanctuary Baltimore, no questions asked" (March 26) Dan Rodricks wrongfully assumes that welcoming illegal immigrants will help increase Baltimore's tax base. But there is a consensus among nonpartisan economists that illegal immigrants are a fiscal drain on American taxpayers.
A majority of illegal immigrants have less than a high school education and have well below average incomes. The National Research Council found that an illegal immigrant without a high school degree will impose a net cost on taxpayers of $89,000 over his or her lifetime.
Also, illegal immigrants pay little in income taxes. In fact, low-skilled workers very often pay no taxes and receive a check from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the form of the Earned Income Tax Credit. Illegal immigrants claimed over $4.2 billion in child tax credits in Fiscal Year 2010. So putting illegal immigrants on the IRS rolls actually costs the federal government money.
Illegal immigrants also receive huge amounts of taxpayer-funded benefits, such as health care and education. Some estimate that illegal immigrants cost taxpayers as much as $113 billion annually.
If illegal immigrants are granted amnesty, the Heritage Foundation reports that it will cost at least $2.5 trillion in retirement expenditures, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. With so many of our entitlement programs on the verge of insolvency, it makes no sense to further jeopardize them.
Granting amnesty to those who have broken our immigration laws only hurts American taxpayers; it will not raise revenues.
Rep. Lamar Smith, Washington
The writer, a Texas Republican, is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
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