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Benefits for Illegal Aliens: Some Program Costs Increasing, But Total Costs Unknown

T-HRD-93-33 Published: Sep 29, 1993. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 1993.
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GAO discussed the fiscal impact of providing public benefits to illegal aliens, focusing on: (1) illegal aliens' eligibility for various programs; (2) the reasons for the lack of program cost data; and (3) national and state cost estimates. GAO noted that: (1) illegal aliens and their U.S. children are eligible to receive emergency Medicaid services, primary and secondary education, school nutrition services, and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and food stamp benefits; (2) cost data are not readily available because illegal aliens are not required to reveal their eligibility to receive certain benefits, and officials are often prohibited from inquiring about the status of illegal aliens; (3) the total costs of providing benefits to illegal aliens is unknown due to federal and state cost data limitations; (4) the estimated cost of providing AFDC benefits to children of illegal aliens was $479 million for 1992; (5) of the five states that account for about 80 percent of the illegal immigrant population, California provided the most benefits totalling $2.9 billion; (6) the cost of providing benefits to illegal aliens is expected to increase some program costs; and (7) the complete fiscal impact of providing benefits to illegal aliens cannot be determined, since government revenues attributable to illegal aliens are unknown.

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ChildrenCost analysisEconomic analysisEligibility criteriaEntitlement programsFederal aid programsImmigration enforcementImmigration and naturalization lawState-administered programsMedicaid