Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Reports: Illegal immigration didn't drain state's resources

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BATON ROUGE – Illegal immigration was found to have a minuscule effect on Louisiana’s resources according to state officials at the Capitol Thursday. Officials over state prisons, food stamps and Medicaid reported undocumented immigrants may cost the state millions of dollars but in all cases it made up less than one percent of the total cost of the programs.

The reports were given at a meeting of the state’s Immigration Task Force, chaired by Rep. Valarie Hodges(R-Denham Springs). Hodges said she fears the state’s economic crisis could be exacerbated by illegal immigration, but Thursday’s reports did not justify those fears.

However, one state official noted federal regulations prevent the state from inquiring into the immigration status of many individuals. “We’re not really allowed to particular information,” Beth Scioneaux with the Department of Education said. 

Immigrant advocates had a strong showing at meeting, one said they are scapegoats for the state's economic crisis.

One undocumented worker, Santos Alvarado said he pays taxes with no benefits. “We don't see that money because we're not eligible for Medicaid or Social Security but nevertheless they take that money from us,” he said.

Hodges pledged to continue collecting data before recommending new immigrant legislation.


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