Illegal aliens cost Colorado billions annually

Will we act or not?By Former Governor Dick Lamm

    Introduction by John Andrews: Defend Colorado Now, the ballot issue campaign to end non-emergency, non-federally-mandated taxpaid services to illegal aliens, of which I'm co-chairman, today held a Capitol press conference to release an economic impact study on this growing problem. Click here to join the campaign. And click here to see the full study, with the shocking total price tag for our state given on pages 2 and 8. Dick Lamm, honorary campaign chairman, commented as follows:

Last November, Colorado engaged in a contentious debate over Referenda C & D seeking the authority for the state government to keep some of the funds scheduled to be returned to the taxpayer under the TABOR Amendment. At the same time, without debate and with little discussion by the media or the political leaders, illegal immigration in Colorado was costing Colorado taxpayers two or three times the amount so bitterly fought over last November.

Now for the first time, Donald Rice sets forth in one study the most authoritative collection of estimates of the costs to Colorado taxpayers and workers of illegal immigration. Using only the most authentic of sources, Rice found that illegal immigration will cost Colorado over $1 billion in 2006 and promises to do so in growing amounts, next year and the year after, ad infinitum.

This is a cautious, fact-based study which Defend Colorado Now feels significantly understates the magnitude of the problem because illegal immigration has so dramatically increased and the original studies necessarily cited by Rice are years behind reality and understate the real cost. Studies look in the rearview mirror and always understate a growing problem. Like a flood on the South Platte, by the time we get the report from Douglas County, a much larger flood has hit Denver.

That said, the Rice study give us a scholarly, rock-solid study with unimpeachable statistics.

A silent invasion of illegal aliens has spread throughout Colorado, providing some employers with "cheap labor" but imposing immense costs on Colorado taxpayers and placing serious new burdens on our school systems, health care systems, and law enforcement. A burden that has no moral or legal justification!

Rice estimates (p. 8, line 55) that the total cost to Colorado of illegal immigration for Medicaid, K-12, education and incarceration is $1,025,518,839 per year. That number includes $64,531,983 of State General funds spent on Medicaid for illegals.

Rice also estimates an additional economic loss to Colorado workers of $2 billion ($2,030,807,803) caused by the downward drag of illegal labor to wages paid by Colorado employers.

We submit this report as a scholarly, conservative, bottom-line economic impact analysis that while it understates the full magnitude (DCN estimates there may be twice the number of illegal immigrants in Colorado than the figures Rice necessarily uses), clearly shows that illegal immigration is costing Coloradoans in reduced paycheck and increased taxes.