The U.S. Loses $138 Billion to Immigrants Every Year

A Mexican remitting money through a remittance service in the Bronx, New York City, New York.
A Mexican remitting money through a remittance service in the Bronx, New York City, New York.

New York, NY – The Democrats would have us believe that we need immigrants to build this country, but the actual impact of immigrants today is very different from when our forefathers first landed at Plymouth and Ellis Island. When our forefathers came to this country, they came on a one-way ticket, to build this land into the superpower that it is today. They toiled, sacrificed and died, serving our flag and making America great. But the new immigrants who wash up on our shores these days have a very different agenda, as judged by the amount of money that they send back every year to their home countries.


According to a study by the Pew Research Center, which gathered data from economists at the World Bank, immigrants bleed over $138 billion from our country to build their own countries every year. That’s enough money to build over 5 border walls, fund our healthcare system, fix our education system or rebuild our failing bridges and roads. The numbers reflect cash flows in 2016 leaving the U.S. to people in other countries through official channels, like a bank or wire transfer service, but doesn’t capture the billions of dollars lost every year through our porous southern border. The data also excludes cash flows through informal networks like sending cash through the mail – which economists suspect might add up to another 50 percent of these totals.

Unsurprisingly, it is Mexico which received the most greenbacks with $28.1 billion siphoned out of the U.S. China came in second at $15.4 billion and India, with its throngs of technology workers in Silicon Valley drawing $10.7 billion out of the country. The Philippines rounds up the top four with $10.5 billion sucked out of our coffers and into the hands of Filipinos. These four countries alone make up a combined total of almost half of all remittances at 47 percent. But the remittances alone don’t tell the whole story because they are measured by dollar amounts. Chinese and Indian immigrants tend to work in higher paying graduate-level jobs, which generally tend to pay better and so although Chinese and Indian immigrants remit a lot more money home, they probably also pay a lot more in terms of tax to the federal government. Remittances to Africa on the other hand are very low, but that’s also because most African immigrants rely on social welfare to support them when in the U.S. which places a tremendous burden on our local, state and federal resources.

1. Mexico: $28.1 billion

2. China: $15.4 billion

3. India: $10.7 billion

4. Philippines: $10.5 billion

5. Guatemala: $6.8 billion

5. Vietnam: $6.7 billion

7. Nigeria: $5.7 billion

8. El Salvador: $4.2 billion

9. Dominican Republic: $4.1 billion

10. Honduras: $3.4 billion

Mexicans meanwhile generally tend to work low-wage jobs and in many cases, do not pay any form of local, state or federal taxes. With the threat of a border wall looming, Mexicans have been frantically sending money back to Mexico and remittances are at an all-time high right now, larger than the entire economy of Paraguay – an enormous transfer of wealth from Americans to Mexicans happening year after year.

Ruiz Hernandez, who would not comment on his immigration status says he sends back almost 80 percent of his paycheck every week to his family in Mexico.
Ruiz Hernandez, who would not comment on his immigration status says he sends back almost 80 percent of his paycheck every week to his family in Mexico.

Remittances out of the U.S. means that money which could have been spent developing our country is being lost every year and the number is set to grow. As more and more immigrants choose to acquire wealth in the U.S. but ultimately intend to one day return to their countries of origin, there is no financial incentive to develop America, which explains the growing amounts of money being sent out of the U.S. But the quality of these remittances must also be examined. Lower income earners naturally pay less in terms of taxes, but because there is a large number of them, for instance Mexicans, the overall size of the remittances is significant. So although the majority of Mexicans working in the U.S. don’t pay a lot of tax, they remit a lot of money. Chinese and Indians on the other hand pay a fairly large amount in taxes but also remit a large amount, which has the effect of canceling each other out.


The trend is not likely to be one that will end anytime soon. Cash flows accrue at different rates for different countries, and a select few tend to dominate the market for remittances out of the U.S. Once an immigrant population starts sending money, businesses spring up to facilitate the transfers, making it easier for more money to go overseas and depriving this country of that cashflow to maintain the very infrastructure which these immigrants use to make that money to begin with. Taxing the flow of money out of the U.S. will carry enormous economic consequences, but instead of just seeking to tax this money, the federal government should examine the quality of the remittances – if an immigrant is paying large amounts in tax but also remitting large amounts, then that is the sort of immigrant we should be attracting to this country. But if the immigrant is really just leveraging the largesse of America and sending money back to build their own countries, these immigrants should be stopped at the border wall.

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