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Another Study Finds Undocumented Immigrants Don't Burden Social Services

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November 30, 2007

One of the biggest myths the anti-immigrant movement floats is that undocumented workers are just destroying the country by burdening its social services systems. It conjures notions of hospitals and other facilities overrun with foreigners demanding services – services they didn’t pay for, because they aren’t paying taxes.

This just isn’t true, as yet another report has found. ThinkProgress noted Tuesday the release of a study by the UCLA’s School of Public Health “that finds that illegal immigrants do not pose as significant a burden on U.S. Health Care resources as is often claimed.”

The UCLA study echoes many similar recent findings. Last December, Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn released similar findings in her report “Undocumented Immigrants in Texas: A Financial Analysis of the Impact to the State and Budget and Economy.” She takes care to note at the top of the report:

The absence of the 1.4 million undocumented immigrants in Texas in fiscal 2005 would have been a loss to our gross state product of $17.7 billion. Undocumented immigrants produced $1.58 billion in state revenues, which exceeded the $1.16 billion in state services they received.

As for taxes, not only do documented and undocumented workers pay significant taxes, but undocumented workers often get less for their money. A 2005 article from The New York Times found “the estimated seven million or so illegal immigrant workers in the United States are now providing the [Social Security] system with a subsidy of as much as $7 billion a year” – money that’s automatically taken out of the paychecks of undocumented workers who are not entitled to Social Security when they retire.