10 States with the Most Illegal Immigration

President Obama last week unveiled plans to shield millions of people living in the country illegally from deportation, but his controversial initiative doesn't address one looming – and complex – problem: Healthcare.

President Obama last week unveiled plans to shield millions of people living in the country illegally from deportation, but his controversial initiative doesn’t address one looming — and complex – problem: Healthcare.

Obama’s executive action — which is being challenged by Republicans – will allow many people living illegally in the United States to work here legally. However, they won’t qualify for Obamacare subsidies to fund healthcare insurance, and they won’t be eligible for Medicaid.

That’s a problem because, according to a study from the Center for Immigration Studies, “taxpayer-provided health care for uninsured illegal immigrants costs $4.3 billion annually.”

Even though these immigrants technically don’t qualify for Medicaid, Kaiser Health News reported last year that Medicaid pays about $2 billion per year toward “Emergency Medicaid” funding for hospitals. Those hospitals say most of the patients covered under that category are in the US illegally.

The issue is even more complex in a handful of states. The New York Post noted last week that a few states, including New York, don’t require patients to be US citizens in order to qualify for Medicaid, so long as they meet certain eligibility requirements.

“By allowing access to Social Security cards and work permits to hundreds of thousands of undocumented New Yorkers, Obama has qualified them for Medicaid,” the Post reported.

However, even though they would qualify for Medicaid at the state level, they won’t qualify at the federal level. According to the Post, that means the federal government won’t pay its 50% share for those enrollees, leaving New York State to pay the entire cost of Medicaid.

In short, funding healthcare for people in the US illegally has always been complex, but Obama’s recent executive actions may very well have further complicated things. And the effect of Obama’s actions will have a very different impact from state to state, because illegal immigration has a very different impact from state to state.

Below is a list of the 10 states with the highest rates of people living in the country illegally, expressed as a percentage of total population. On average, about 3.5% people living in the US are believed to be here illegally. The data are from a 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center. Population data are from the US Census Bureau’s 2013 estimates.

Total population: 12.9 million

Percentage of population without documents: 3.7%

Estimated Illegal Immigrants (2012): 475,000

Trend: Down from 500,000 in 2009

Photo: Chicago

Total population: 19.7 million.

Percentage of population without documents: 3.8%

Estimated Illegal Immigrants (2012): 750,000

Trend: Down from 800,000 in 2009

Photo: New York City

Total population: 9.9 million

Percentage of population without documents: 3.9%

Estimated Illegal Immigrants (2012): 400,000

Trend: Down from 425,000 in 2009

Photo: Atlanta

Total population: 5.9 million

Percentage of population without documents: 4.3%

Estimated Illegal Immigrants (2012): 250,000

Trend: Up from 230,000 in 2009

Photo: Baltimore

Total population: 6.6 million

Percentage of population without documents: 4.6%

Estimated Illegal Immigrants (2012): 300,000

Trend: Down from 350,000 in 2009

Photo: Scottsdale

Total population: 19.5 million

Percentage of population without documents: 4.8%

Estimated Illegal Immigrants (2012): 925,000

Trend: Up from 875,000 in 2009

Photo: Jacksonville

Total population: 8.9 million

Percentage of population without documents: 5.8%

Estimated Illegal Immigrants (2012): 525,000

Trend: Up from 450,000 in 2009

Photo: Jersey City

Total population: 26.4 million

Percentage of population without documents: 6.3%

Estimated Illegal Immigrants (2012): 1.65 million

Trend: Up from 1.45 million in 2009

Photo: Austin

Total population: 38.3 million

Percentage of population without documents: 6.3%

Estimated Illegal Immigrants (2012): 2.45 million

Trend: Down from 2.50 million in 2009

Photo: Sacramento

Total population: 2.8 million

Percentage of population without documents: 7.6%

Estimated Illegal Immigrants (2012): 210,000

Trend: Down from 230,000 in 2009

Photo: Henderson