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American Taxpayers Paying $451 Billion Annually to Address Southern Border Crisis

Published: April 29, 2024
A Texas National Guard soldier installs border fencing layered with concertina wire near the Rio Grande river on April 02, 2024 in El Paso, Texas. Last week, hundreds of migrants seeking asylum clashed with Texas national guardsmen while waiting to turn themselves in to border patrol agents for processing. (Image: Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

According to a report released late last year, the House Committee on Homeland Security found that American taxpayers are on the hook for roughly half a trillion dollars annually due to costs associated with the southern border crisis. 

The 49-page report considered a number of costs associated with addressing the crisis including costs associated with healthcare, law enforcement, education, and housing among other things. 

In total, Americans are paying roughly $451 billion annually to manage the millions of illegal migrants being released into the country by Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s Department of Homeland Security, as well as the estimated 1.7 million so-called “gotaways.”

“Every day, millions of American taxpayer dollars are spent on costs directly associated with illegal immigration and the unprecedented crisis at the Southwest border sparked by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ policies,” the committee’s report states. 

“Only a fraction is ever recouped from the taxes paid by illegal aliens, with the rest falling on the shoulders of American citizens and lawful residents,” it reads. “Mass illegal immigration, accelerated by Mayorkas’ open-border policies, now represents a massive cost to the federal government and state governments alike, as well as the pocketbooks of private citizens and businesses.”


Millions of illegal aliens

According to data provided by the Federation for American Immigration Reform and Yale University, between 16.8 and 29 million illegal aliens are currently living in the United States. Since President Joe Biden assumed office, at least 3.8 million people have illegally entered the country. Meanwhile, there were 7.3 million encounters between people attempting to cross the southern border.

In addition, the House Judiciary Committee found that the Biden administration has failed to remove 99 percent of the migrants who have been released into the country, or roughly 2.15 million people, in the two years following his inauguration.

In total, just 108,100 illegal migrants were removed in that time period. 

In a statement, issued shortly after the report was released, House Homeland Security Committee chairman, Mark Green, said that it was “unconscionable” for Mayorkas and Biden to expect the American taxpayer to pick up the tab for the crisis.

“Communities across this country, from the smallest border town to our largest city, are dealing with depleted emergency resources, public housing crises, overwhelmed public-school systems, damaged or destroyed property, and overwhelming law enforcement costs — burdens these hardworking taxpayers were never prepared for, and should not be forced to pay,” Green said.

Green said the report “outlines the devastating costs” associated with refusing to enforce border laws and that it “reaffirms the Homeland majority’s urgent demand for Biden and Mayorkas to end the failed policies that are threatening to bankrupt our cities and states.”


Police funding diverted to migrant aid

In a more recent development, the city of Denver has announced plans to defund its police department by $8.4 million in order to help pay for the migrant crisis.

The City’s budget, tabled by progressive mayor, Mike Johnston, is allocating $89.9 million to assist with an influx of illegal migrants who he refers to as “newcomers.”

Around $45 million of this will be drawn from public programs and services and both the police and fire departments are bracing for budget cuts.  

“After more than a year of facing this crisis together, Denver finally has a sustainable plan for treating our newcomers with dignity while avoiding the worst cuts to city services,” Johnston said at a new conference discussing his “Newcomer Operations and 2024 Budget.”

“So many times we were told that we couldn’t be compassionate while still being fiscally responsible. Today is proof that our hardest challenges are still solvable, and that together we are the ones who will solve them,” he added.

The City’s plan is to spend $3 million administering the program, $51.7 million to shelter migrants, $9.1 in support services, $9.5 million in “one time capital costs” and another $10 million has been set aside as a contingency.

As a result, the city’s fire department is expected to see a budget cut of around $2.5 million and its police department will have to operate with $8.4 million less in their coffers.

The Colorado capital, which together with its environs is home to around 3 million people, has a total migrant population of around 710,000, a number that is expected to grow over 2024.

Johnston previously predicted that the city would need to find an additional $100 million to provide the illegal migrants with housing, schooling and health care.