Budget Issues:

Immigration to the United States--Federal Budget Impacts 1984-1995

AFMD-86-53BR: Published: Aug 28, 1986. Publicly Released: Aug 28, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO: (1) examined the potential budgetary impact immigration may have over the next 10 years; and (2) initiated development of a methodology for dealing with long-term issues that involve many agencies and committee jurisdictions.

GAO established fiscal year 1984 as a baseline and then: (1) analyzed 1984 federal immigrant-related outlays and revenues; (2) projected the data to yield 1990 and 1995 estimates regarding the social, economic, and political environments; and (3) examined data for selected programs and areas in the five most impacted states. GAO noted that an exact dollar amount for the impacted states was not available because of the uncertainties of population size and characteristics and the lack of direct information regarding immigrant-related outlays and revenues. GAO found that: (1) the per capita federal outlays for immigrants were roughly comparable to those for average U.S. residents; (2) immigrants contributed fewer revenues to the federal government than average U.S. residents on a per capita basis; (3) total immigrant-related outlays differed only slightly from total immigrant-related revenues; (4) to estimate future budgetary impacts, factors such as unemployment, inflation, money supply, population growth rates, and events affecting immigration status and eligibility for federal assistance must be considered; and (5) because immigration offsets both federal outlays and revenues, which remained roughly in balance, Congress may wish to monitor key conditions and trends to determine whether that balance is maintained. GAO concluded that immigrant outlays and revenues would increase over the next 10 years.

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