A North Carolina Education Expert Puts Cost Of Illegal Alien K-12 Schooling at $33 Billion
September 11, 2006, 05:00 AM
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From:  Tom Shuford [e-mail him]

Re: Edwin S. Rubenstein's Column: Immigrants Blindsiding U.S. Public Schools

Rubenstein wrote:

"About 1.5 percent of elementary school students and 2.8 percent of secondary school students are foreign-born illegals. More schoolchildren have illegal immigrant parents: 5 percent in elementary schools and 4 percent in secondary schools"

Therefore, a total of 6.5 percent of elementary school enrollment and 6.8 percent of secondary school enrollment is directly attributable to illegal immigration, that is, roughly 3.3 million students.

At $10,000 per pupil X 3.3 million students, that's $33 billion in annual schooling costs for aliens and their children.

I put $33 billion as a conservative estimate given that many alien students require special education or English language instruction.

How do such costs affect average Americans?

David A. Denslow is a highly regarded economist at the Bureau of Economic and business Research at the University of Florida and favorably disposed to immigration.

Nonetheless Denslow concludes: Immigrant households in Florida consume, on average, $1,800 more in state services (mostly in education and Medicaid services) than they pay in taxes. The $1,800 net cost per household does not include costs of federal services.

Denslow's estimate of costs is higher than most because he focuses on households rather than individuals:

"Previous studies counted the number of individual immigrants in calculating the cost of immigration. But that method underestimates the costs of immigration . . . because it does not take into account the fact that immigrants have children who are born in the United States...But these children [technically U. S. citizens and thus not counted as immigrants] use government services and will not pay taxes for many years, and if their parents had not immigrated, they would not be in the United States to begin with."

("Immigration Costs More Than Thought," Peter A. Brown, Jewish World Review, October 17, 2005)

Shuford, who lived in Los Angeles from 1998-2002, is a retired teacher and columnist for EducationNews.org. His series on immigration and schools can be found here. It was number one on Google for nine months using the search words "immigration" and "schools". His recent letter critical of the H-1B visa program was published in USA Today. Read it here. And his previous letter to VDARE.COM is here.