The Heritage Foundation issued two studies in 2007 pointing out that the big problem with mass legalization is that (a) most illegal aliens are low-skilled and therefore do not earn enough money to pay enough taxes to cover the government benefits they receive; and (b), amnesty would eventually make them eligible for the full array of welfare and medical benefits offered by local, state and federal governments. They found the cost of allowing illegal aliens to remain in the United States, and eventually to become citizens, would be $3.7 trillion through the year 2056. That works out to a present cost of $1 trillion, at a 5 percent discount rate. In other words, immediately upon passage of an amnesty bill, the United States government would need to put $1 trillion into an investment earning 5 percent per year if it were honest about paying for the costs of amnesty.
An amnesty for illegal aliens and increased legal immigration on top of that would only remedy a small portion of the social security deficit.
Robert Rector and Christine Kim of the Heritage Foundation calculated that an average low-skilled immigrant household costs federal, local, and state governments $19,588 per year more than it pays in all taxes. Rector and Kim concluded that low-skilled immigrant households pay $10,573 in taxes per year.
One of the quickest ways to discover which philosophy is guiding a federal official is to learn his or her stance of re-establishing "interior enforcement" in this country. That is, do they support the Immigration and Naturalization Service using all the tools now available to them through law to detect, detain and deport illegal aliens who have crossed the border and moved into the interior of the country? And do they show openness to new ideas and funding to help the INS further disrupt the illegal immigration industry?
Nearly all Members of Congress believe that we should have a fairly vigorous Border Patrol to make illegal immigration more difficult. But a large percentage of Congress -- a majority on certain measures -- also believe that virtually all illegal aliens who get past the guards at the border or who enter legally and overstay their visas should be allowed to remain in the United States forever. Since 1997, Congress and Presidents have several times decided to give various groups of those illegal aliens the right to U.S. citizenship as a reward for their resourcefulness in evading our Border Patrol and immigration laws.