A new study from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) examines the costs of education, health care and incarceration of illegal aliens, and concludes that the costs to Californians is $10.5 billion per year. Among the key finding of the report are that the state's already struggling K-12 education system spends approximately $7.7 billion a year to school the children of illegal aliens who now constitute 15 percent of the student body. Another $1.4 billion of the taxpayers' money goes toward providing health care to illegal aliens and their families, the same amount that is spent incarcerating illegal aliens criminals.
In an ideal world it may make sense for California to pay for these benefits. After all, illegal immigrants do contribute to the economy of the state. However, with a budget gap of $19 billion during the 2011 fiscal year that was closed with the help of a bunch of accounting gimmicks, after a $30 billion deficit in the prior fiscal year, it becomes more difficult to support widening the gap through these payments.
Governor Schwarzenegger exercised his line-item veto to eliminate $962.5 million in spending including $336 million in reduced payments for child care and welfare services and $133 million in mental health services to special education services. The ethical question is whether it is right to cut benefits to the needy who are legal citizens at the same time so much of the budget is devoted to benefits for illegal aliens. What do you think?