New Jersey continues to be seen as a prime place for illegal immigration. Between 2009 and 2012, the number of illegal immigrants living in New Jersey increased by more than 16 percent, according the Pew Research Center
. Other states have not experienced the same level of growth as New Jersey.
Unauthorized immigrants in New Jersey account for about 5.8 percent of the state’s total population.
New Jersey’s farming industry is attractive to undocumented workers, the Burlington County Times reported
. The state’s agricultural industry — nearly a billion dollars a year in agricultural products — has long attracted unauthorized immigrants seeking migrant, seasonal and day work, according to a report published by the American Civil Liberties Union.
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Most illegal immigrants pay state and federal taxes, although the payments are generally credited to an account other than for the workers. In New Jersey, undocumented workers are believed to pay as much as $613 million annually in taxes, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy
Undocumented workers in New Jersey are estimated to cost New Jersey’s taxpayers more than $2 billion annually for education, medical care, and incarceration, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform
. An estimated 11.7 percent of the K-12 public school students are dependent children of illegal aliens.
The American Immigration Council said deportation
is a constant fear for undocumented immigrants, often leaving children in the foster care network at a cost of $26,000 per year per child. With the deportation of a working parent, the remaining parent is often forced into state social welfare programs at a heavy burden to the state’s resources.
In 2013, New Jersey became the 16th state to allow unauthorized immigrants to pay in-state tuition to New Jersey colleges and universities provided they have attended at least three years of high school in New Jersey, Reuters reported
. They will not be eligible for state financial aid.
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