Illegal immigrants often benefit businesses by filling low-wage jobs that are difficult to fill with Americans. But illegal immigrants can add to the costs of U.S. social programs. On balance, has the U.S. economy benefited more than it has been harmed by its current population of undocumented workers? -Michael McDonald
"Undocumented immigrants contribute significantly to state and local taxes, collectively paying an estimated $11.64 billion a year. Contributions range from almost $2.2 million in Montana with an estimated undocumented population of 4,000 to more than $3.1 billion in California, home to more than 3 million undocumented immigrants.
-Lisa Christensen Gee
"In 2010, the average unlawful immigrant household received around $24,721 in government benefits and services while paying some $10,334 in taxes. This generated an average annual fiscal deficit (benefits received minus taxes paid) of around $14,387 per household. This cost had to be borne by U.S. taxpayers... Under current law, all unlawful immigrant households together have an aggregate annual deficit of around $54.5 billion." -Robert Rector
"Americans believe that undocumented immigrants are exploiting the United States' economy. The widespread belief is that illegal aliens cost more in government services than they contribute to the economy. This belief is undeniably false... [E]very empirical study of illegals' economic impact demonstrates the opposite: undocumenteds actually contribute more to public coffers in taxes than they cost in social services. -Francine J. Lipman