00:20 GMT +321 October 2018
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    Undocumented Immigrants’ Births Cost US Taxpayers More Than Trump Wall - Report

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    While undocumented immigrants are not eligible for Medicaid, the healthcare program does pay for every child born in the US.

    More US citizens' tax money has gone to payments to undocumented migrants who gave birth on US soil than has been allocated for the construction of US President Donald Trump's border wall project, a new report that analyzes US Census Bureau data revealed.

    According to the report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), women who crossed the border illegally gave birth to 297,000 children in 2014, which led to a total of $2.4 billion in publicly funded healthcare payments.

    In the meantime, the funding for Trump's wall approved by the US Congress for fiscal year 2018 amounted to just $1.6 billion. The national debate over the wall project funding is set to intensify after the midterm elections, the Washington Examiner noted, adding that if President Trump fails to persuade Congress to increase the wall's funding past the $1.6 billion figure, the result may be a partial government shutdown.

    The CIS report has come up with a combined figure of $5.3 billion in Medicaid payments to both legal and undocumented immigrants, equivalent to one-fifth of the total cost of the wall project, according to the Washington Examiner.

    These findings are particularly interesting considering that technically, immigrants who enter the US illegally are not eligible for Medicaid or welfare services at all. However, in practice, "Medicaid will pay for a delivery in almost all cases if the mother is uninsured or has a low income, though some mothers without insurance may not even realize the program has paid health care providers," the CIS report reads.

    "Illegal immigrants and most new legal immigrants are ineligible for Medicaid, but the program will still cover the cost of delivery and post-partum care for these mothers for at least a few months," the report adds.

    One in five births in the United States was to an immigrant in 2014, CIS says. Data for subsequent years shows little variation.

    "Our best estimate is that legal immigrants accounted for 12.4 percent — 494,000 — of all births, and illegal immigrants accounted for 7.5 percent — 297,000," the report stated.

    CIS Research Director Steven A. Camarota commented on the findings in an interview with the Washington Examiner.

    "Paying for so many births to immigrant mothers may make sense, but the large share who can't provide for themselves without the help of American taxpayers raises the question of whether our current immigration system makes sense," he said.

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    Tags:
    taxpayers' money, illegal immigrants, birth, Medicaid, Center for Immigration Studies, United States
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