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The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is an organization devoted to reducing immigration into the United States, both legal and unauthorized. Its publications criticize immigration along cultural, economic, and political lines. On the economic front, FAIR’s report, “The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers” by Jack Martin and Eric A. Ruark, estimates the total net costs of illegal immigration to U.S. taxpayers is $113 billion annually. The report has been widely cited by the media and policy makers.[i] However, FAIR’s report vastly overstates the costs of illegal immigration and totally ignores the benefits.
FAIR’s report argues for increased immigration restrictions as a way to address the federal budget deficit. However, it relies on poor methodology and contains numerous errors, which are outlined below.