Undocumented immigrants pay $11.6 billion per year in state taxes, report says

The approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States pay $11.6 billion per year in taxes, a figure that would increase by $805 million if the executive action measures taken by President Barack Obama are approved, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) says that undocumented immigrants currently contribute 8 percent of the taxes paid into local and state public coffers – including indirect taxes paid on utilities, clothing, gasoline, etc.

But the report did not include federal income taxes because there is a lack of information about state and local tax contributions.

"Regardless of the politically contentious nature of immigration reform, the data show undocumented immigrants greatly contribute to our nation's economy, not just in labor but also with tax dollars," said Meg Wiehe, ITEP State Tax Policy Director.

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However, critics point out that the 24-page report does not examine the cost of government services provided to those immigrants.

Roy Beck, executive director of Numbers USA, said the typical undocumented household pays $10,000 a year in taxes but consumes $30,000 in government services.

"I don't think there's ever been a contention from our side that illegal aliens don't pay taxes," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "The real issue is what is the net effect of the taxes they pay vs. what they take in services."

The report by ITEP, a Washington-based NGO, estimates that if Obama's executive action measures taken in 2012 and 2014 to regularize the immigration status of some 5 million undocumented foreigners were to be confirmed, tax collections would increase by about $805 million.

Meanwhile, granting legal status to all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. the public coffers would benefit with an additional $2.1 billion per year.

As of now, the report states, contributions range from almost $2.2 million in Montana with an estimated undocumented population of 4,000 to more than $3.1 billion in California, home to more than 3 million undocumented immigrants.

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