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The Costs of Illegal Immigration to North Carolinians

January 21, 2009

North Carolina has a rapidly growing illegal alien population of about 385,000 persons, and the fiscal burden on North Carolinians resulting from public services used by that population is similarly increasing. The federal government estimated North Carolina's illegal alien population at 380,000 persons as of 2007. The growth of the illegal alien population since 2000 accounts for all of the total foreign-born population increase over the same period. It also accounts for more than one-sixth (17.7%) of the state's total population increase.

he rapid growth of the illegal alien population prompted the state legislature to take action to deny driver's licenses to persons without a Social Security number or valid visa as of August 2006. Since then state agencies have had to verify the legal employment status of their new employees. Additionally, seven counties and the Durham police department have entered into Section 287(g) agreements with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that train and deputize local law enforcement personnel to work cooperatively in immigration law enforcement. These measures are a positive response to public opinion in the state.

A Rassmussen/FOX poll of North Carolina voters found in 2007 that more than seven out of ten respondents agreed that it is "very important to for the government to improve border enforcement and reduce illegal immigration." An earlier Elon University poll found that 56 percent responded that "immigrants are a burden on the state because of the jobs, housing and health care they take." To the extent that these enforcement measures encourage illegal aliens to leave the state, they should help Governor Perdue cope with an anticipated one to three billion dollar budget deficit.

Read the full report in pdf format.

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