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Education for Fla.'s Illegal Aliens Estimated To Cost $180 Million

Florida taxpayers spent an estimated $180 million last fiscal year to educate illegal aliens, according to a study released this month by Gov. Lawton Chiles.

The study found that education, by far, was the most expensive of the programs serving illegal aliens, which cost the state and local governments a total of about $884 million in 1993.

The state spent an estimated $2.5 billion on services for both legal and illegal immigrants, the report says. In addition to education, those services include health care, law enforcement, and public infrastructure. There are about 345,000 undocumented immigrants and about one million other foreign-born noncitizens living in Florida.

Governor Chiles and the legislature authorized the study last year to document the costs of immigration, which they say should be borne by the federal government.

"This unfair financial burden is especially aggravating when there is little that the state or local governments can do to avoid these obligations,'' the Governor wrote to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno in a letter accompanying the study.

The document is a prelude to a lawsuit the state is preparing to file against the federal government seeking compensation.

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