Illegal immigration does not come cheap, as Nevada taxpayers are well aware.
For decades, southern states such as Nevada have had to carry the fiscal burden of America’s broken immigration system, paying the heavy price for the inexcusable failure of our political leaders in Washington.
According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), illegal immigration costs taxpayers around $132 billion in state, local, and federal expenditures — a figure that includes all taxes paid by illegal aliens. Expanding the range of government services available to illegal aliens would only increase the cost even further and reduce the availability of government services to American citizens.
As well-intentioned as it might seem, the push to give millions of undocumented immigrants access to free healthcare would lead to disastrous consequences. Not only would taxpayers end up subsidizing medical care of immigrants who don’t pay their fair share in taxes, but they would also end up competing with those same immigrants for finite healthcare services.
To make matters worse, some politicians insist that America should dismantle its existing border security initiatives and implement policies that encourage more illegal immigration while making it more difficult for Border Patrol to apprehend people who cross the border surreptitiously.
As Nevadans know all too well, one of the major unintended consequences of weak border security is increased crime — international gangs, drug cartels, and human trafficking groups look for every opportunity to expand their operations in America by exploiting our immigration system. This forces local, state, and federal governments to invest even more money in law enforcement and prisons, which means fewer resources available for other government services, higher taxes, or — more likely — a combination of both.
Although Nevada does not share a border with Mexico, illegal immigration has had a major impact on our state — a 2014 Pew Research Center study found that Nevada had the highest proportion of illegal immigrants in the U.S. at the start of President Obama’s second term in office. According to a report last year, one in 14 inmates serving time behind bars in Nevada is in the U.S. illegally — meaning that the state is spending about $21 million per year just to incarcerate criminal aliens.
During a recent campaign rally in Florida, President Trump underscored the fact that in the past four years, the federal government has successfully reformed the asylum system, which had been subject to rampant fraud, and “deported 20,000 gang members,” including criminals associated with the vicious MS-13 gang.
“We’ve now deported over a half a million criminal illegal aliens,” the President revealed.
Just last month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that a recent operation targeting criminal aliens resulted in 122 arrests in Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and Montana. And that’s just one of hundreds of such operations that ICE has carried out in recent years.
Nevadans would bear a large share of the cost associated with any legislative proposal that gives illegal aliens access to social programs and privileges that are paid for by the taxpayers. Providing free healthcare for undocumented migrants — a policy that a number of prominent politicians have seriously suggested — would put an even greater fiscal burden on taxpayers.
Nevada taxpayers can’t afford to subsidize illegal immigrants indefinitely, and we shouldn’t have to.
Elisa Slider is a first generation Cuban-American based in Nevada. She is a mother of two, the Co-Owner of Silver State Hay Incorporated, a trucking / brokering company, and a former special education preschool teacher. She is currently an Advisory Board Member for Latinos for Trump.