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The Economic Case for Undocumented Immigrants

The Economic Case for Undocumented Immigrants

“They work, pay many taxes — in fact, they pay a larger share of their income in state and local taxes than the top 1 percent of taxpayers do — and buy goods and services from businesses across a state,” the authors write in the report.

President Obama’s 2014 executive action would expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivalsprogram that allows those who came to America as children to legally stay and work in the country. It also would aim to shield undocumented parents of U.S.-born children from deportation. The order would generate an estimate another $845 million in state and local taxes—on top of the $12 billion that undocumented immigrants already pay, as per a 2012 revenue analysis cited by the report (chart on left). A more comprehensive bill—such as this 2013 senate bill that proposed a citizenship pipeline for most undocumented workers—might mean a $2.2 billion increase in revenue.

While the legal system sorts out Obama’s executive order, comprehensive reform might not see the light of day until the next President takes office. Nevertheless, state- and city-level policies that protect unauthorized immigrants from wage theft, allow them to apply for driver’s licenses, and help them access higher education, can help improve their earnings, and therefore lead to greater local and state tax revenue.


Author: TANVI MISRA

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