There’s an ongoing debate about how much mass migration costs the United States. The open-borders lobby claims that all migrants are a net economic boon. Proponents of this position typically rely on complex economic concepts – like “gross domestic product” and “public goods” – to show that immigrants inject wealth into U.S. communities.
Mathematically, however, the case advanced by the economic obfuscators simply doesn’t add up. Most illegal aliens pay few, if any, taxes. And the low-skilled legal immigrants that the U.S. is currently attracting typically earn low wages. Therefore they pay low taxes. Meanwhile, both groups consume government services at a much higher rate than U.S. citizens. If you receive benefits but don’t pay for them, someone else has to make up the difference. In this case, it’s the American public.
And, in many cases, immigrants tend to drive up the price of delivering those services. The extra costs associated with educating limited English proficiency students in public schools and vetting immigrants from developing countries are good examples.
For anyone who has any doubt about the costs associated with unchecked mass migration –Europe provides an instructive case study. The migrant crisis that began in 2015 has resulted in the sudden, mass infusion of at least 1.2 million individuals into European countries.
As Giulio Meotti of the Gatestone Institute reports, the recent arrival in Europe of hordes of Middle Eastern migrants is straining national treasuries to the breaking point:
- Germany’s federal government spent 21.7 billion euros in 2016 dealing with the migrant crisis. Germany has a federal/state system similar to that of the United States. It is unclear how much state governments have spent on migrants, but the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development recently found that, “the cost of integrating refugees is largely borne by sub-central governments.”
- This year, Germany’s budget for security will grow by at least one third, from 6.1 billion to 8.3 billion euros. The vast majority of the additional expenditure is directly related to security costs associated with the migrant crisis.
- Italy will spend 4.2 billion euros on migrants in 2017 – a number equal to one-seventh of Italy’s entire 2016 budget.
- Spain plans to spend 12 million euros reinforcing the wall around its North African enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla. These overseas territories have been besieged by migrants attempting to reach European Union soil without actually crossing the Mediterranean to Europe. The physical barriers protecting them are the only reason these cities have not been overrun.
While many of the European migrants have technically been “accepted” by France, Italy, Germany, Sweden and other countries, few have been interviewed and processed, and even fewer have been vetted. Accordingly, as a cohort, they resemble the illegal aliens who make their way into the interior of the U.S. to take up residence in “sanctuary cities.” And their fiscal impact on European government budgets gives a good indication of how much unchecked mass migration really costs.