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Undocumented Immigrants Paid Approximately $11.2 Billion in Taxes in 2010

by Mahwish Khan on 04/26/2011 at 5:26pm

There’s more news for those naysayers who claim that undocumented immigrants don’t pay taxes, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Last week, the Immigration Policy Center came out with a report using data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), estimating that in 2010, the state and local taxes paid by households that are headed by undocumented immigrants came to approximately $11.2 billion in state and local taxes. 

Here’s the breakdown, followed by a chart showing which states benefited the most in tax dollars from their immigrant populations:

  • $1.2 billion in personal income taxes,
  • $1.6 billion in property taxes
  • $8.4 billion in sales taxes. 

Tax Revenue by State

Earlier today, we wrote about the relatively unknown, but powerful, California Congressman, Elton Gallegly, and how California farmers are worried about the immigration policies that the Mass Deportation Caucus in the House (namely Gallegly, and his two right-hand men, Reps. Lamar Smith and Steve King) is trying to implement.  As you can see from the chart above, if California mass-deported their tax-paying undocumented workers (many of whom are migrant farmworkers), California would lose approximately $2.74 billion in tax revenue. More, actually, when you consider that for every farm worker job, there are approximately 3.1 upstream and downstream jobs created.

But this is only if Gallegly had his way with undocumented immigrants. His immigration policies are also anti-“legal” immigration (though he’d have you believe otherwise), which would gravely affect workers in California’s Silicon Valley.

The short of it: Gallegly’s immigration strategy could sink our economic recovery — and California’s in particular.

The other anti-immigrant “amigo,” Rep. Lamar Smith, is more vocal and better known in political circles for some of his more extreme views. He and Rep. Steve King have famously pushed to revoke 14th amendment rights, and labor intensively with Gallegly to push for enforcement-only “solutions” (that don’t work). And our more vocal anti-immigrant House member hailing from Texas would be surprised to learn that his state is number two on the list of states receiving the most tax revenue from households led by undocumented immigrants, at $1.6 billion dollars.

But that’s such a small number to both Smith and Gallegly. It’s especially unimpressive when you compare it to the numbers related to the Gallegly, Smith, and King’s much-loved strategy of mass deportation, though there’s more damage than benefit here. Mass deportation would cost an estimated $206 billion to $230 billion over 5 years, and a $2.6 trillion cumulative loss in GDP over 10 years.

Any lawmaker who was concerned with the economy and had passed a second-grade math class would, especially after seeing these numbers, try to create a path toward citizenship to create more taxpayers.  But Gallegly, Smith, and King are driven by their anti-immigrant views, and very soon, if they keep it up, they’ll be driven out of office.

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