Reports Says Illegal Aliens Costing Mississippi Taxpayers
State Auditor Phil Bryant's report estimates 49,000 illegal immigrants in the state, costing over $25 million.
"It's the first time anyone in the State of Mississippi has tried to look at illegal immigrants and what it costs the taxpayer," Bryant said.
The report takes into account contributions from illegal aliens who pay more than $40 million in sales tax and more than $3 million in income tax each year. But the estimated costs are more than $69 million. That includes everything from education and healthcare to public safety and losses from income sent out of the country.
Only one illegal alien bill remains alive in the legislature. It would allow Mississippi to cancel any state contract with a company using illegal workers.
"I think we need to slow down the headlines, slow down the hype," Rep. John Reeves said.
Reeves says he'll support the bill that's now in his committee, but he wants people to realize the contribution to the economy made by immigrants and sometimes illegal immigrants.
"All you have to do is go to the Gulf Coast for about two hours and see who is building Mississippi down there. Who's doing the grunt work."
Reeves would like to see a guest worker system for immigrant workers, allowing them to come and go while still paying taxes.
Bryant admits his report isn't exact and now wants state agencies to help keep tabs on illegal aliens.
"We need to continue to track that with additional information year after year and see what growth pattern is going to be and then how we deal with that additional cost," Bryant said.
And that could mean asking congress for more money or joining other states and passing legislation to strengthen federal immigration laws.
You can find the entire illegal alien report on the State Auditor's website, www.osa.state.ms.us.