Legalized immigrants could add $2 billion in taxes

A nonpartisan study shows that granting them such status would allow them to pay a great deal more.

By Jason Notte Jul 11, 2013 8:54AM
Credit: © John Moore/Getty Images
Caption: A migrant farm worker from Mexico harvests organic zucchini while working at the Grant Family Farms on September 3, 2010 in Wellington, Colorado. The farm, the largest organic vegetable farm outside of California, hires some 250 immigrant workers during the peak harvest season. Owner Andy Grant lamented that the issue of illegal immigration has become politicized nationally. 'They feed America,' he said. 'They should not be victimized.' Grant said his workers start at $7.25, which is the minimum wage in ColoradoUndocumented immigrants are robbing taxpayers, you say? Well, you could get $2 billion of that back each year if those same immigrants were allowed to work here legally.

A study conducted by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), a nonpartisan research organization, says the country's 11.2 million undocumented immigrants already collectively contributed $10.6 billion to states and localities in 2010 through sales and excise taxes, as well as through property and income taxes.

That number could swell to $12.6 billion if undocumented immigrants were allowed to work legally, pay more in state income taxes and kick in their full share to federal, state and local tax systems.

The immigration reform legislation Congress is now considering would give many unauthorized U.S. workers the legal right to work. ITEP's analysis assumes that legalization would allow those workers to bargain with employers, increase their income and, in turn, boost their tax contributions.

The study piggybacks on the findings of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which estimates that the current immigration legislation would decrease the federal deficit by $197 billion and generate more than $450 billion in additional federal revenue over the next decade, if passed.

The Center for American Progress also indicates that immigration reform could add more than 200,000 new jobs and $1.4 trillion to the overall economy as immigrants use their income to buy goods and pay taxes.

So, where do U.S. taxpayers stand on giving undocumented workers legal status? According to the Pew Research Institute, their resounding answer is "Sure, now fork it over." A full 75% of those surveyed told Pew they agree that it would be "better for the economy for undocumented immigrants to gain legal status and become legal workers." That includes 70% of Republicans and 83% of Democrats.

That said, there's still a little trepidation about the effects of that legalization. Little more than 50% of surveyed taxpayers said granting immigrants legal status would take jobs from U.S. citizens, while 61% said it would be a drain on government services.

Those folks are still outnumbered, however, by the 77% who felt deportation is unrealistic and the 75% who believed most undocumented workers are hard-working and deserve a chance to stay in America and improve their lives.

More on moneyNOW

Jul 11, 2013 9:24AM
$2 billion more in taxes in exchange for tens of billions more in entitlement benefits - sounds like a great deal for illegals and a terrible deal for for the rest of us.
Jul 11, 2013 9:32AM
This spin focuses only on the revenues of legal immigrants without regard to the expenses.  So would it be a net gain or a net loss?  I am thinking that it would be a net loss to make Food Stamps/EBT/Snap, WIC, Hud Section 8 housing, Obama-Care insurance subsidies, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security Retirement, Social Security Disability, Social Security minor's and widow(er)'s benefits, Obama phones, child tax credits, earned income credits, and education credits available to them.
Jul 11, 2013 12:50PM
OR you could close the borders and deport all of the illegal immigrants, and save the taxpayers $5 billion in welfare, food stamps, housing, and free medical care.  It's six of one, and half-a-dozen for the other.
Jul 11, 2013 11:29AM
What is $2 billion in tax against the trillions we are already are in debt. Secondly if they are illegal how can they file their taxes or buy property without proper legal documentation like assigned SS # for work. If they get legalized how many illegal millions will claim Early Retirement, Disability, Social Security, Section 8, Food Stamps, Medicare, Have few More Kids not realizing how much it cost to Deliver one baby and how much it puts a burden on hard working citizens who pay their taxes to support these illegals Directly. Once legal they will Automatically have the right to fight for something they do hot have any rights too. Stop issuing US. Birth Certificates to illegal kids born here and if the mother is undocumented Deport them back so they do not be a future burden by having more kids and be a Liability to hard working citizens. We have taken care of them for years now legal citizens who pay their taxes need to reap their benefits. This is Politics.....Welcome to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA THE COUNTRY BUILT to support ILLEGALS......DEPORT THEM ALL.....
Jul 11, 2013 12:48PM
Let those who think the illegals should be allowed to stay volunteer to support them.  The taxpayers should NOT be burdened with the trillions it will cost us to "legalized" their bad behavior.  Stealing from citizens to pay for criminals is just WRONG.
Jul 11, 2013 12:47PM
Jul 11, 2013 12:49PM

This is making the broad assumption that those illegal immigrants currently residing & working here without paying taxes through legal employment, would switch to paying taxes.  If they are getting paid under the table today - why would they switch?  And if their employer is paying them under the table to avoid its portion of employment taxes - why would they switch?


Likewise, if they are already here - they are spending money on consumer goods - so how does legalization provide an upward tick in consumer spending & job growth? 

Jul 11, 2013 9:46AM
This follows the train of thought that they will still be interested in doing all those jobs that citizens here are not interested in............ Why not just get on the Federal Teat too? This Liberal logic is so far gone.
Jul 11, 2013 12:51PM
A National Debt of 14 TRILLION and MAYBE get back 2 Billion. That's like $14,000 in debt and making a $2 payment! The ignorance of Socialist Left Wingers who write this crap is astounding.
Jul 11, 2013 12:53PM

This guys an idiot!! Based on these incomes, how many of these immigrants will be paying tax's?? Better yet how many will actually be getting a check come year end because they fall under the poverty level?

Then lets add in all the subsidies, cost for schools, medical, daycare, vouchers, etc.etc.

Do your home work -----------------moron.   GGRRRRRRRRRRRR   

Jul 11, 2013 10:16AM

i love the sub headline has the key word "COULD" in it.


that doesnt mean it will.


the libbies attempt to sell this has failed.


how about an article on how the democrats in the senate refusing to pass a bill keeping student loan interest rates at 3.4 instead of jumping to 6.8%  ITS OBVIOUS DEMOCRATS HAVE A WAR ON STUDENTS AND ARE ALSO THE NEW PARTY OF NO

"Legalized immigrants could add $2 billion in taxes"

COULD, COULD, COULD ................ and rainbows and unicorns COULD be the answer to climate change, unlimited emission free energy, and idiotic politicians who buy votes and pander (spend tax money on) those who have never and will never contribute to the poor nation that is saddled with them!

Jul 11, 2013 12:57PM

They "could", but most likely, WON'T.

Jul 11, 2013 12:48PM
What the article fails to address is the jobs the illegal immigrants are taking from existing citizens and the costs associated with the unemployment of those citizens.  Existing American citizens should always come first.
Jul 11, 2013 12:55PM
Another ridiculous article that is far from factual.  I guess they really do think we are all dumb.
Jul 11, 2013 12:52PM
Only if they're paid with a paycheck having a SS number on it and not in cash under the table.  Besides, farm workers aren't the only illegal aliens (sorry, undocumented angels) here. There are many illegals here from Al Qaeda, China, North Korea, or any of our non-friend countries I'm sure! Remember 9-11 !!!  And if they are undocumented, how are they going to get their "citizenship instructions", if nobody knows they exist?  What a farce.  What better way to infiltrate this country for nefarius reasons, than to sneak into the country, stay "undocumented" for a while, and some liberal idiot will make you a bonafide citizen.
Jul 11, 2013 1:15PM
What a bunch of hogwash... I work at a factory which employees illegals... most all claim 8 dependents and pay very little state and federal tax... and... they don't file their income tax at years end... In fact many just throw the W2's away before they leave that day... Most say they don't want to become legal bc of having to pay the taxes... what a mess we gotten ourselves in... I should add that when they need health care they visit the emergency room (free of course) by using their real name... 2 of our employees, over the years, have had operations... all at no cost... then back to work under a fake name and very little taxes... our system is broke and needs to be repaired... and fast... 
Jul 11, 2013 12:55PM
Why not enforce existing laws so illegal immigrants self deport and then American that can and will do most of these jobs will pay taxes instead of being unemployed.
Jul 11, 2013 12:54PM
Yeah, bring in more white collar immigrants and lay off more Americans, just so the treasonous leaders of our country can make sure that we have third world demographics asap.  You gain their taxes and lose those of Americans.
Jul 11, 2013 10:05AM

If we don't legalize these people, you could be paying tens of thousands of dollars for a pint of strawberries!


Oh, the humanity.


The last bag of brussel sprouts I bought were grown in Mexico. Go figure? 

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