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Illegal Immigration Contributing to California Budget Meltdown

February 6, 2009
California Budget Meltdown Would be Lessened by Combating Increases in Illegal Immigration

(Washington, D.C. -- February 6, 2009) California state lawmakers now grappling with a $40 billion budget deficit were advised five years ago of the mounting costs of illegal immigration in the state. In 2004, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) issued a study of the fiscal cost of illegal immigration to Californians.

At that time, the cost to the state's taxpayers was $10.54 billion a year. That estimate included the cost of educating the children of illegal aliens both those illegally in the country and those born here in K-12 public schools, emergency medical care, and incarceration of criminal aliens.

While these annual costs for illegal immigration have been steadily draining California's budget year after year, the costs have risen and are placing an even greater strain on the state's resources in 2009. The original 2004 cost estimate was based on an illegal alien population estimated at 2,900,000. Today, FAIR estimates California's illegal alien population has grown to 3,200,000, a 10.3 percent increase. As a result of both the continued growth in the illegal alien population and the higher cost of governmental services, the current fiscal cost outlays for the illegal alien population in California are now approaching $13.1 billion annually more than half the projected shortfall for next year.

"California is melting down with an unemployment rate of 9.3 percent, 257,400 jobs lost in 2008, median home values plummeting 50% since spring of 2007, and the lowest S&P bond rating of all fifty states," said Dan Stein, President of FAIR. "While Governor Schwarzenegger is proposing draconian cuts in spending, ordering furloughs for state employees, and delaying expected taxpayer refunds, he continues to ignore the budget-busting cost of illegal immigration. With the highest concentration of illegal aliens of any state nearly one in eight residents is illegal it's no wonder California is in the mess it is."

"California state officials need to acknowledge the fiscal impact of illegal immigration and remove the welcome mat to those who are not entitled to residence, employment or most benefits. A big chunk of the state deficit could be cut over time if the state adopted measures that effectively complemented federal efforts to deter illegal immigration. The interests of law abiding residents of California must take precedence over continued pandering to ethno-centric special interest amnesty groups and unscrupulous employers looking for cheap labor," observed Stein.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is a national, nonprofit, public-interest, membership organization of concerned citizens who share a common belief that our nation's immigration policies must be reformed to serve the national interest. FAIR seeks to improve border security, to stop illegal immigration, and to promote immigration levels consistent with the national interest-more traditional rates of about 300,000 a year.

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