A Fox News "fact" on the supposed costs of illegal immigration to U.S. taxpayers was lifted from a study by the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) that has been debunked as flawed.
During a segment on Fox News' America's Newsroom discussing the new immigration reform plan soon to be released by a bi-partisan group in the Senate, Fox displayed a "Fox Facts" graphic as host Martha MacCallum interviewed Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC):
This so-called fact is based on research from the anti-immigrant hate group FAIR. In 2010, FAIR released a study titled, "The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers," which found "the annual costs of illegal immigration at the federal, state and local level to be about $113 billion." At the time the study was released, FoxNews.com defended both FAIR and the study.
But Fox failed to mention that the study has been debunked:
As Alex Nowrasteh, a former immigration policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and currently a Cato Institute immigration policy analyst, pointed out, FAIR's study is riddled with errors and based on "poor methodology" that "fatally undermine this study":
FAIR's numerous errors, poor methodology, and failure to address criticisms of its previous work on this issue fatally undermine this study. FAIR's methodology is so flawed that it leads to absurd conclusions. Applying its study's reasoning to studying the children of American citizens, one could conclude that it never pays to have children because the fiscal costs will always outweigh the benefits. That is prima facie absurd.
FAIR ignores the benefits of unauthorized immigration by claiming that other people, namely American citizens who are unemployed or underemployed, would step into the void. That conclusion ignores economic reality. Those who are unemployed or underemployed do not live in a state of economic hibernation cut off from all activity. Even if the jobs and businesses left vacant after deporting all unauthorized immigrants were somehow filled by Americans, the economic activity of those millions of people is still lost.
FAIR has a long history of making anti-immigrant remarks and is connected to white nationalist organizations. The group's founder, John Tanton, is the modern day architect of the anti-immigrant, nativist movement and also has a history of making anti-immigrant and racially charged remarks.