By Committee on National Statistics, National Research Council
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Extra resources for Local Fiscal Effects of Illegal Immigration: Report of a Workshop (Compass Series)
Fiscal 1991 data are used for total national program costs, inflated to 1992 dollars. Huddle used an average cost approach extrapolated from national program costs per capita, adjusted for the participation rate of each group of immigrantslegal, amnesty, and illegal. For example, for public assistance costs, he calculated the following: Page 8 national cost per participant = program cost per participant national participation rate = number of participants/national population immigration participation rate = national participation rate multiplied by (immigrant poverty rate/native-born poverty rate) number of immigrant participants = immigrant participation rate multiplied by total immigrant population total cost = number of immigrant participants multiplied by program cost per participant Taxes paid are estimated similarly, using Los Angeles County revenue data (for both the national and Texas studies) for each tax divided by the total immigrant population with adjustment factors to obtain national estimates.
Such federal revenue sources as grants-in-aid and disproportionate share payments for health care services in underserved areas were included in some studies yet not in others. Property tax revenues, the most important revenue source for local school districts, were treated in radically different ways in the case studies: one study assumed property owners bore the entire tax burden, other studies assumed a 50-50 split between landlords and tenants, and the remaining studies did not state an assumption about the economic incidence.
The other side of the issue is the difficulty of measuring the positive externalities of public educationthe value of socializing immigrant (and other) children into civic life, the cultural and personal value of a literate and numerate population, or the greater diversity that immigrants bring to the classroom. Educational investments have the long-term benefit of producing a more highly skilled workforce, Page 16 workshop participants noted. Debate about the impact of illegal immigrant children, according to workshop participants, might be more appropriate to discuss within a broader context of the value of education as a long-term social investment.