Further, state and local governments are likely to face a much larger increase in costs than the federal government. Foremost, that is because they provide education. While all children are already allowed to attend public school, legalization will encourage more immigrants to bring their families here, married immigrants already here to have more children, and even make it easier for the unmarried immigrants to become married. It may also lower the dropout rate among the immigrants’ children because it will make it much easier for them to attend college. This portends an increase in public school enrollment, increasing the most expensive state and local government service of all. Legalization is also likely to increase the use by immigrants of all sorts of other state and local government services—driver services, libraries, public health clinics, recreation programs. Without fear of deportation, immigrants will demand and use more government services. All these services cost money and while some charge fees, the fees rarely cover the full cost of the services.
A 2011 report by Jack Martin and Erik Ruark of the Federation for American Immigration Reform estimated that illegal immigrants are costing state and local governments around $80 billion per year currently. That number represents the net impact of their imposed costs minus the revenue they are paying in taxes and fees. Just a 15-20 percent increase in the burden on state and local governments would be enough to completely offset any fiscal gains by the federal government.