Only 8% of Americans do not have at least a high school degree, compared to a third of U.S. Immigrants who do not possess a high school degree.  Based on 2010 Census data In Texas, 43% of Hispanics have less than a high school education.

Educationally, the growth in Texas public school students is totally accounted for by “new” minorities – notably Hispanics and Asians, and a very small percent of “old” minorities, i.e., African American students.  But, non-minority students have been in decline since 2000.  Between the decennial censuses in Texas, 95% of all growth in children occurred among Hispanics, an almost one million (931,065) Hispanic youth increase in ten years.  The Dallas and Houston areas gained over half the added children in that decade.  This is in contrast to the nation, where nearly a third of the major metro area nationwide showed declines in children between decennial censuses.

Immigrants are more likely to take a job which does not require English skills.  What this means is that when immigrants take lower skilled jobs, it typically allows Americans to take higher skilled jobs with higher pay.  Immigration also has a positive effect on the unemployment rate.  In 2013, Texas’ unemployment rate was 6.2 compared to the national unemployment rate of 7.2%.  However Arizona, which passed numerous immigration enforcement bills, had a 2013 unemployment rate of 8.2%.

A 2006 study by then Comptroller Carole Stayhorn showed that, in 2005, immigrants who entered the country illegally generated $1.58 billion to Texas’ revenue and lost $1.16 billion in state services that same year.  Also in 2005, local Texas governments lost about $1.44 in law enforcement and heath care expenditures that the State did not reimburse.  Since it is illegal to track public education costs for undocumented students, then there is no known study that has estimated this cost to the State in 2005.  Comptroller Susan Combs, who is leaving office when her term is up this year, has cited budget constraints in the State’s inability to recreate this study for a more recent year.  While these 2005 figures ignore the gross domestic product that illegal immigrant produce in the State – at the same time, it is hard to separate out what percent would still have still be earned by legal workers, if undocumented workers did not exist.

As the biggest predictor of future income, closing education gaps in Hispanic families is the key to Texas’ economic future. While the State is now the biggest draw for jobs in the nation, nonetheless, at times in the past five years, up to 80% of these new jobs did not require a college education.  So, the economic security provided by this high job growth will likely be tenuous, without a strong socioeconomic base for the State’s population

(Source: Houston Chronicle, Dec. 8, 2013; Dallas Morning News, Marcy 27, 2014; Dallas Morning News., April 6, 2011)