Unauthorized Immigrants Pay Taxes, Too

arizona sheriffUndocumented Immigrants Pay Taxes

Sadly, myth and misinformation continue to be a major part of the immigration debate. One of the biggest myths perpetuated by restrictionist groups is that the roughly 12 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. use a variety of public services yet paying nothing in taxes. Hard data recently released by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) however, backs up what economists have been saying for years—undocumented immigrants do, in fact, pay taxes. A new report released yesterday by the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) uses ITEP data to show that unauthorized immigrant households paid a whopping $11.2 billion in state and local taxes in 2010 alone.

Using an estimate of each state’s unauthorized population, the average family income for unauthorized immigrants and state-specific tax payments, ITEP was able to calculate that unauthorized immigrant households paid roughly $11.2 billion in state and local taxes in 2010, including $1.2 billion in personal income taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes, and $8.4 billion in sales taxes.

According to the report, states receiving the most tax revenue from households headed by unauthorized immigrants were California ($2.7 billion), Texas ($1.6 billion), Florida ($806.8 million), New York ($662.4 million), and Illinois ($499.2 million):

seth hoyAnd that’s just their contributions as taxpayers. Imagine what their economic contributions would be after they legalized through comprehensive immigration reform? A report last year estimated that creating a legalization process for unauthorized workers would yield $1.5 trillion to the U.S. GDP over a ten year period, generate billions in additional tax revenue and consumer spending and support hundreds of thousands of job.

Legislators and politicians debating what to do with unauthorized workers already in the U.S. should keep those numbers in mind. As IPC’s report points out, “in spite of the fact that they lack legal status, these immigrants—and their family members—are adding value to the U.S. economy; not only as taxpayers, but as workers, consumers, and entrepreneurs as well.”

Seth Hoy
Immigration Impact


  1. Annette says

    the roughly 12 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. use a variety of public services yet paying nothing in taxes

    First of all, it’s more like 20-30 million illegal aliens who have snuck into the country.

    And it’s absolutely true that they can access social services without ever paying taxes. Just because some of them do pay some taxes doesn’t mean that illegal aliens aren’t stealing our resources.

    You know this Seth, so it’s pretty astounding that you’re still writing articles that imply that people from other countries are actually carrying their own weight and not costing us anything.

    If a woman sneaks across the border (or even comes here on a legal visit) and has a baby, the US citizens can be saddled with the cost of the childbirth, and that “instant citizen” is entitled to all of our social programs that we pay for with taxes, including welfare, federal Section 8 housing, Medicaid, Medicare, ObamaCare, social security disability and more. If the parents decide to stick their kids with another family, public tax money in the form of foster care payments can go to the illegal immigrant’s relatives, even if the mom and dad are still living with their kid!

    There are many other ways that illegal aliens cost American taxpayers much more money than they pay in taxes. Mexican illegal immigrants can (and do) demand that their kids be educated in Spanish instead of English, and the kids can even get free college thanks to American taxpayers.

    Illegal aliens can get all this for their kids, even if they’ve never paid a dime into the system. But people like Seth Hoy keep pushing for amnesty so that illegal immigrants can permanently degrade our standard of living by reducing wages for working and middle class Americans. We pay the bill for illegal aliens, while corporations rake in the profits from cheap labor.

    What big companies are you supporting, Seth?

  2. James says

    What you failed to mention is that, while they may or may not have paid $11 billion in taxes, they cost the Citizens of this country somewhat over $30 billion in public services – for a net loss of roughly $20 billion.

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