Illegal immigration in California: Where the costs are

Describing the costs of illegal immigration in California as “a catastrophic hit . . . on every level of government,” California Supervisor Mike Antonovich talks about the impact of having illegal immigrants as approximately 7% of the state’s population:

The largest costs to California’s budget from its illegal residents are in three areas:

* Education: The state has no official count of how many students are in the country illegally because school districts do not ask. But the state legislative analyst estimated, based on data from the Pew Hispanic Center, that the state’s 6.3 million public school students include about 300,000 illegal residents. At an annual cost of about $7,626 each, the total comes to nearly $2.3 billion.

* Prisons: In fiscal year 2009-10, California expects to spend about $834 million to incarcerate 19,000 illegal immigrants in the state’s prisons. In Los Angeles County, illegal immigrants add between $370 million and $550 million annually to criminal justice costs, including prosecution, defense, probation and jails, according to Supervisor Mike Antonovich.

* Healthcare: The expected state tab for healthcare in fiscal 2009-10 is $703 million for as many as 780,000 illegal immigrants. Of that, $486 million goes to emergency services. But low-income illegal residents are also eligible for some nonemergency health services, including prenatal and postpartum care, abortions, breast and cervical cancer treatment and certain types of long-term care, such as stays in nursing homes. Most of the nonemergency care for illegal immigrants was authorized by the Legislature in the 1980s.

In addition, the article states that 48,000 children in families headed by illegal immigrants receive a monthly average of $472.

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5 Responses to “Illegal immigration in California: Where the costs are”

  1. Anthony (Los Angeles) Says:

    Regarding prisons, one of the problems we have is that the Fed has refused to repatriate to their home countries illegals detained here, and yet makes the state foot the bill for their incarceration. It’s essentially an unfunded mandate for prisoner care.

  2. 11B40 Says:


    I live in the San Francisco Bay area. On this evening’s TV news, a woman head of some kind of family medical center was being interviewed. She lambasted the governor because the budget hadn’t been signed on time (for what, the 10th year in a row?) and the state had to issue IOUs that banks are now refusing to honor. Meanwhile, her waiting room looked like Tijuana Norte. Of course, either due to ignorance or management direction, these thoughts failed to cross the reporters well coiffed head.

  3. Pat Patterson Says:

    Not illegal immigrants but differently placed immigrants. Get with the program!

  4. Is illegal immigration helping to drive California bankrupt? « Wintery Knight Blog Says:

    […] story was linked by Fausta’s blog and Fausta noted this: In addition, the article states that 48,000 children in families headed by […]

  5. Matt Chanoff Says:

    This is actually a pretty tough question. Estimates of the economic impact of illegal immigration range from a cost of $42 Billion to a benefit of $29 Billion (see for a discussion). There’s a nice article from the LA Times about seems relatively fair-minded at Then there are the estimates from FAIR (an anti illegal immigration group, putting the cost to California alone at over $10 billion