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Undocumented Immigrants Pay More In Taxes Than Wealthy

Undocumented Immigrants Pay More In Taxes Than Wealthy

A new study released by the Immigration Policy Center for tax day shows that at least half of the undocumented immigrants in this country pay income taxes.  Add that to the sales and property taxes that those undocumented persons also pay and  undocumented immigrants pay more in taxes than most wealthy Americans.

The total amount of tax revenue collected in state and local taxes is approximately $11.2 billion, including $1.2 billion in personal income taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes and $8.4 billion in sales taxes.

The numbers don’t come as much of a surprise to those who track immigration policy.  According to Wendy Sefsaf, communications director for the American Immigration Council, the current political movement to restrict, criminalize and punish immigrants will come at a steep price to states.

According to Sefsaf “[t]he restrictionist movement in the U.S. spends all their time letting everyone know how much [undocumented immigrants] cost us, and they try to ignore the fact that they contribute.  We are not trying to say there are not costs associated with people.  There are costs associated with everyone.  But we are trying to balance out the debate.”

States like Florida, for example, which collects about $806.8 million from unauthorized immigrants and does not have a state income tax would certainly feel the impact should a significant amount of that population leave.  That revenue comes from immigrants buying groceries, rent and other necessities subject to sales and property taxes.

The bottom line is to suggest that undocumented immigrants are nothing but a revenue suck on states is simply wrong.  While that will likely not change the conversation for those who have committed to making attacking immigrants the wedge issue of the moment, as Sefsaf notes, the only way to have an honest conversation about changing immigration policy is with a full set of facts.

 

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photo courtesy of Barnaby via Flickr

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101 comments

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11:35AM PDT on Apr 16, 2012

Entering this country is not how it was for our ancestors, who were welcomed with open arms, gaining citizenship in the matter of hours. Today, the expensive, difficult, and time consuming procedure of becoming a legal citizen deters people from entering this country illegally. Illegals pay property, sales, and federal income tax like everyone else. They pay into medicare and social security, and because of their illegal status, reap zero benefits from those government programs. The problem of immigration is just a way for our government to gain more power over our civil liberties while creating a scapegoat for a problem they created.

And the comment section of news sites like this will continue to illustrate the power of the main stream media to divide us as a country, where we blame each other, rather than the Shepard who leads the way.

2:57AM PDT on Jul 16, 2011

If that isn't the pot calling the kettle black! You want to talk ignorance?? How busy are you trying to beat into everyone else's heads that these people breaking the law deserve everything that they ask for? Just because you believe you way is the right way, everyone else is wrong? Send the law breakers home!

8:50PM PDT on Jul 15, 2011

Like I said...ignorance...it's so blinding that people who allow it to guide them exist in an alternate reality wherein the truth is a foreign concept and intelligent, mature conversation is unheard of. They are so busy arguing against another person's point that they don't take the time to hear it. What a world!

(IN RESPONSE TO THE PREJUDICED AND UNEDUCATED WHO BY ALL APPEARANCES SEEM TO WANT FOR BOTH SENSE AND COMPASSION)

3:51PM PDT on Jul 15, 2011

Just what are you trying to say?? that we american't don't have to pay rent, taxes on groceries, property taxes??

You people who support these criminals disgust me! Send them home, let them come in LEGALLY, then we'll talk.

12:44PM PDT on Jul 15, 2011

Just because something is a law doesn't not make it right. You prejudiced people disgust me and nothing anyone says or does will change your minds because you are ignorant fools. If you bothered to educate yourselves you would no longer have a reason to hate--but people like you feed on that hate, don't you. And for those who have educated themselves, they would know that immigrants also pay more taxes than noted here--because they more often than not are forced to pay all usual taxes come with employment (such as for health care) by their employers who turn around and reap all benefits for themselves and leave their employees screwed--not to mention the fact than immigrants are paid far less than their American counterparts.

10:04AM PDT on May 29, 2011

if they are paying taxes they are doing it illegally because they are ILLEAGAL!! they send mostly all their money back 2 their countries where they should be and stop abusing the US of A. they bring their violence here too and their drugs...most are mexicans they r dirt poor over there and come over here and make more money than they ever would over there and dont know what 2 do with it so they abuse everything...believe me i have seen it.

5:51AM PDT on May 3, 2011

A few comments here.
1. 'Undocumented' means illegal. They made a conscious decision and plan to violate US law.
2. The only way that an illegal alien could pay US income tax is if he has a Tax Payer ID (Social Security number). The only way he could get one is through fraud, so doubly criminal.
3. I've seen numbers that conservatively place the amount of money they send over seas at 100,000,000,000. Thats 100 BILLION! So much for them putting large amounts of money into the economy.

12:22PM PDT on Apr 30, 2011

and the point here is...??
of course undocumented people pay taxes. in my state (and it is is mostly a state thing) if you eat, drink, or buy ANYthing, you pay taxes. if you rent a place to live, part of your rent pays taxes. if you use any utilities (water, electricity) you pay taxes. put fuel in your car, you pay taxes...
being illegal makes no difference. if you don't live in a refrigerator box and eat out garbage cans, you will pay taxes.

7:06PM PDT on Apr 29, 2011

opps...sorry I meant undocumented....

7:04PM PDT on Apr 29, 2011

ia "unauthorized" the new term for ILLEGAL?

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Julie M. Rodriguez Julie M. Rodriguez is an arts, green living, and political writer based in San Mateo, CA. Her work... more
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