This is relevant to last night’s story and the ensuing discussion.

More than 37 million immigrants in the United States, both legal and illegal, cost the federal government more than $346 billion last year, twice as much as the nation’s fiscal deficit, according to a report released yesterday…

The report, which analyzed costs based on 15 separate federal agencies, estimated that the departmental impacts ranged from a high of $146 billion at the Treasury Department to a low of $300 million at the Defense Department.

The loss estimates, the report said, included $100 billion in federal taxes lost “from the reduction of native incomes caused by immigrant workers.”

Read it all.

Because the vast majority of legal immigrants into the U.S. are permitted on the basis of family reunification rather than any type of merit or needed skills, it is not surprising that on balance immigration imposes a large net cost on the legal residents of the country.

Immigrants consume much more in public services than they pay in taxes.

For some people, this fact (among others) justifies opposing all immigration. I disagree with that standpoint because I think legal immigrants have by definition taken the necessary steps to begin becoming contributing members of our society. They have taken ownership and can be expected to become progressively more self-sufficient with succeeding generations.

Generally speaking, illegal aliens, to the contrary, are only here for the money and have no interest in becoming Americans, and consequently don’t buy in to our rules and regulations. On top of that, they impose a significant cost as the study details. Take away these factors and we would not have a controversy over illegal immigration in this country.

UPDATE: The report is not available online yet but here is more coverage from CNN Money.