A report released by the Center for Immigration Studies estimated that the total number of immigrants in the U.S. illegally would cost taxpayers up to $750 billion over their cumulative lifetimes. The report's authors asserted it would be less expensive to deport every immigrant in the country illegally than allowing them to live in the U.S.
On Aug. 3, the conservative-leaning CIS released a report estimating that each immigrant in the country illegally would cost taxpayers roughly $65,292 over their lifetime. CIS Director of Research Steven A. Camarota asserted that immigrants in the country illegally were a fiscal drain on the U.S. because they required more government benefits to get by.
"In short, illegal immigrants are a large net fiscal drain because of their education levels and this fact drives the results," Camarota wrote, according to the Washington Examiner. "Deportation, on the other hand, is not that costly relative to the fiscal costs illegal immigrants create."
Camarota drew his conclusion by drawing from data provided by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering in 2016. That report concluded that immigrants in the country illegally with advanced degrees benefited U.S. taxpayers by $424,000 over the course of their lifetime while those without a high school diploma would cost taxpayers roughly $173,000 over their lifetime.
The CIS researcher averaged those figures and concluded that the average immigrant in the country illegally has a net cost of $65,292 for taxpayers. Camarota based his numbers on the assumption that a vast majority of immigrant in the country illegally did not have high levels of education.
The report also asserted that it would only cost $125 billion to deport all of the roughly 11 million immigrants estimated to reside in the country illegally. Camarota based that figure on Immigration and Customs Enforcement data from 2012.
"Sometimes people say look, we couldn't deport everybody because it's prohibitively expensive," Camarota told The Washington Times. "But if your only concern is fiscal cost, it's pretty clear that letting them stay is a hell of a lot more expensive."
CIS' study methods and motivations are questionable, according to New Republic. Critics of the think tank have accused its members of releasing misleading conclusions to stir public sentiment against any form of immigration.
In 1985, the group was founded partly through the financial support of John Tanton, an ophthalmologist who endorsed the debunked scientific theory of eugenics. Tanton has often warned that Western civilization is at the risk of overpopulation from nonwhite groups, according to the New Republic.
In February 2017, the Southern Poverty Law Center designated CIS as a hate group. CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian blasted the designation and asserted that this group harbored no ethnic or racial prejudice, according to PolitiFact.
In 2016, a study conducted by the American Action Forum estimated that deporting all immigrants in the country illegally would take 20 years to complete and would ultimately cost the U.S. economy $1 trillion in lost labor.