The cost of taking care of illegal migrants has become a heavy burden for many states. No longer is it just the border lawmakers feeling the pain, areas across the nation are becoming overburdened and tired of trying to find ways to shelter, feed, clothe, and provide medical and other necessities for those who enter our country illegally. Louisiana’s governor has also decided enough is enough and signed an executive order to track illegal immigrants and the costs associated with them in The Pelican State.
On Jan. 16, Republican Governor Jeff Landry signed an executive order requiring agencies to monitor their sectors financial burden due to illegal migrants. The idea behind the plan is to get a more accurate account of just how much taxpayers are having to shell out to pay for aliens and then take that information to the government. According to the EO, the head of every executive branch agency in the state will have to provide the governor’s office with data associated with the cost of illegal immigration.
In a statement, Landry said:
“This Executive Order will analyze data to determine the financial burden our citizens are being forced to carry because of those who do not follow the law. Louisiana will always welcome those who legally immigrate, but taxpayers cannot continue to foot the bill for individuals who break the law and skip the line.”
As part of the Order, law enforcement will be tasked with compiling a list of all immigrants in the state who have been arrested and provide a monthly report to the governor’s office. The information will need to contain the immigration status, crimes committed or convicted, if there is past criminal history, and if the individuals have any known or suspected gang affiliation. This information will then be published on specific websites that are to be kept up to date regularly for transparency.
Also this month, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced a bill that would block states from using federal money to subsidize state programs that provide illegal migrants with health care. The legislation is known as the Protect Medicaid Act and would not allow federal Medicaid “funding for the administrative costs of providing health benefits to individuals who are unauthorized immigrants.” The bill is supported by several other senators across the nation, including co-sponsors Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Roger Wicker (R-MS), John Barrasso (R-WY), and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS).
“Tennesseans and the American people do not want their tax dollars subsidizing Medicaid for illegal immigrants,” Blackburn said. “Not only is it unfair to hardworking citizens, but it incentivizes more illegal immigration and puts the care of millions of Americans on the back burner.”
The bill would mandate that the inspector general for the Department of Health Care and Human Services provide a report on the states that continue to fund health care for illegal migrants. California, for example, expanded its Medicaid program to provide about 700,000 aliens with free health care which has cost the Golden State more than $3 billion.
Cassidy told KNOE 8 News that states such as California, New York, and New Jersey have the right to make their own policy decision. “For example,” he said, “the governor of California says that he wants to give Medicaid coverage to those who have crossed and are living in California illegally.” That’s fine if a lawmaker wants to do that to his constituents, but not when their policies are costing people outside of the state, too. “And so, even if it’s only administrative costs, now my bill would say, ‘No, California. You can do it if you want, but don’t put that bill upon others.”
The Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, estimates nearly 100,000 illegal migrants and about 34,000 anchor babies live in Louisiana right now. The organization claims the cost to taxpayers in the state is more than $4,600 per alien, with each household footing about $346.