Illegal Immigration: Costs, Crimes, Diseases, & Related Problems

Illegal Immigration: Costs, Crimes, Diseases, & Related Problems


Illegal immigration imposes enormous costs — monetary as well as crime-related — on American society. As regards criminal activity, Manhattan Institute scholar Heather MacDonald in 2004 described the problem as it pertained to southern California:

  • “In Los Angeles … dozens of members of a ruthless Salvadoran prison gang have sneaked back into town after having been deported for such crimes as murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and drug trafficking. Police officers know who they are and know that their mere presence in the country is a felony. Yet should a cop arrest an illegal gangbanger for felonious reentry, it is he who will be treated as a criminal, for violating the LAPD’s rule against enforcing immigration law.”
  • “In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide (which total 1,200 to 1,500) target illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) are for illegal aliens.”
  • “A confidential California Department of Justice study reported in 1995 that 60 percent of the 20,000-strong 18th Street Gang in southern California is illegal; police officers say the proportion is actually much greater. The bloody gang collaborates with the Mexican Mafia, the dominant force in California prisons, on complex drug-distribution schemes, extortion, and drive-by assassinations, and commits an assault or robbery every day in L.A. County. The gang has grown dramatically over the last two decades by recruiting recently arrived youngsters, most of them illegal, from Central America and Mexico.”
  • “The leadership of the Columbia Lil’ Cycos gang, which uses murder and racketeering to control the drug market around L.A.’s MacArthur Park, was about 60 percent illegal in 2002.”

In a 2006 study, Deborah Schurman-Kauflin of the Violent Crimes Institute in Atlanta estimated, conservatively, that from January 1999 through April 2006 approximately 240,000 illegal aliens had committed about 960,000 sex offenses in the United States. “This translates to 93 sex offenders and 12 serial sexual offenders coming across U.S. borders illegally per day,” she said.

A 2015 Fox News analysis of local, state and federal data found that “illegal immigrants are three times as likely to be convicted of murder as members of the general population and account for far more crimes than their 3.5-percent share of the U.S. population would suggest.” The study estimated, for instance, that 13.6 percent of the people sentenced for all committed crimes in the United States were illegals; among these were 12 percent of murderers and 16 percent of drug traffickers. In 2014, illegals accounted for nearly three-fourths of all federal drug sentences and more than one-third of federal sentences overall. And in 2015, the Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency released almost 20,000 illegals who had committed a combined 64,000 crimes that included 1,728 assaults, 216 kidnappings, more than 200 homicides, and 12,307 convictions for drunken driving.

Because of its geographic location, the state of Texas is, as The Hill reported in April 2017, “an epicenter for illegal immigrant crimes.” A crime analysis conducted by both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Texas law enforcement authorities found that between June 2011 and March 2017, more than 217,000 criminal immigrants had been arrested and incarcerated in Texas alone. These perpetrators had jointly committed nearly 600,000 criminal offenses, including nearly 1,200 homicides, almost 69,000 assaults, nearly 17,000 burglaries, some 700 kidnappings, almost 6,200 sexual assaults, about 69,000 drug offenses, some 8,700 weapons violations, more than 3,800 robberies, and at least 45,000 instances of obstructing police. The DHS confirmed that about two-thirds of these immigrant criminals were in the U.S. illegally at the time of their arrests.

The financial costs of illegal immigration are also very high. According to a 2017 report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), U.S. taxpayers at the federal, state, and local levels were shelling out approximately $134.9 billion each year to cover the education-, medical-, welfare-, and law enforcement-related costs associated with the nation’s estimated 12.5 million illegal aliens and their 4.2 million citizen children (who were born in the United States). This “amounts to a tax burden of approximately $8,075 per illegal alien family member,” said FAIR. By contrast, illegal aliens paid only about $19 billion in federal and state income taxes, Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes, and excise taxes annually, meaning that they represented, on balance, a huge financial drain on the United States.

Additional Resources:


The Truth About Illegal Aliens & Crime (longer article)
By John Perazzo
March 2024

The Truth About Illegal-Alien Criminality (shorter article)
By John Perazzo
March 4, 2024

9 Things You Need To Know About Illegal Immigration And Crime
By The Daily Wire
October 22, 2016

What the Media Won’t Tell You About Illegal Immigration and Criminal Activity
By Hans A. von Spakovsky
May 13, 2017

Non-Citizens Committed a Disproportionate Share of Federal Crimes, 2011-16
By Steven Camarota
January 10, 2018

Feds: 44% of All Convictions to ‘Non-Citizens,’ Drugs, Kidnapping, Auto Theft
By Paul Bedard
January 10, 2018

Elusive Crime Wave Data Shows Frightening Toll of Illegal Immigrant Criminals
By Fox News
May 3, 2016

Do Illegal Aliens Have High Crime Rates?
By Barry Latzer (City Journal)
January 24, 2019

Illegal Immigrants Responsible for Almost Three-Fourths of Federal Drug Possession Sentences in 2014
By The Washington Examiner
July 8, 2015

Study Finds High Rates of Prison, Jail for Illegals
By The Associated Press
February 5, 2019

20,000 Illegals with Criminal Convictions Released into U.S. Communities in 2015
By The Washington Times
April 22, 2016

One in Five U.S. Prison Inmates Is a ‘Criminal Alien’
By Sharyl Attkisson

The Truth about Crime, Illegal Immigrants and Sanctuary Cities
April 19, 2017

Illegal Immigration Numbers: MS-13 Exploding, 1,100 Border Arrests a Day, 1M on Deport List
By Paul Bedard
January 23, 2018

DHS: 23% of All Federal Prisoners Are Illegals
By Paul Bedard
August 9, 2017

Illegal Alien Crime Wave in Texas: 611,234 Crimes, 2,993 Murders
By J. Christian Adams
July 22, 2015

85 Per Cent Of Sweden’s Fatal Shooting Suspects Come From Foreign Backgrounds
By Chris Tomlinson
January 12, 2022

Illegal Immigration Costs American Taxpayers Billions Every Year
By Spencer Lindquist
March 3, 2023

The Illegal-Alien Crime Wave
By Heather MacDonald
Winter 2004

Archive of Serious Crimes Committed by Illegal Aliens
By the Federation for American Immigration Reform


Why Didn’t We Know Truth about Illegals and Crime?
By Tucker Carlson
December 21, 2017


The Cost of Illegal Immigration to Taxpayers
Prepared Testimony of Steven A. Camarota
January 11, 2024

The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers
By The Federation for American Immigration Reform
September 27, 2017

Welfare Use for Immigrants and Native-Born Households
By Steven A. Camarota
September 1, 2021

63% of Non-Citizen Households Access Welfare Programs, Compared to 35% of Native Households
By Steven A. Camarota and Karen Zeigler (Center for Immigration Studies)
September 10, 2015

Welfare Use by Immigrant and Native Households
By Steven A. Camarota (Center for Immigration Studies)
September 2015

Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrant Households
By Steven A. Camarota (Center for Immigration Studies)
September 2015

Welfare Use by Immigrant Households with Children: A Look at Cash, Medicaid, Housing, and Food Programs
By Steven A. Camarota (Center for Immigration Studies)
April 2011

More Than 90 Percent of Middle Eastern Refugees on Food Stamps
By Caroline May
September 10, 2015

The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers
By Matt O’Brien and Spencer Raley
September 2017

Record $135 Billion a Year for Illegal Immigration, Average $8,075 Each, $25,000 in NY
By Paul Bedard
September 27, 2017

Most Illegal Immigrants in U.S. Receive Government Benefits, Costing Taxpayers Billions
By Fox News
April 22, 2019


It Took Chinese Coronavirus to Finally Make Illegal Immigration Illegal
By Daniel Horowitz
March 23, 2020

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