Tax Day is an appropriate time to underscore the often-overlooked fact that unauthorized immigrants pay taxes. The unauthorized, like everyone else in the United States, pay sales taxes. They also pay property taxes—even if they rent. At least half of unauthorized immigrants pay income taxes. Add this all up and it amounts to billions in revenue to state and local governments.
Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases estimates produced by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) of the state and local taxes paid in 2010 by households that are headed by unauthorized immigrants. Collectively, these households paid $11.2 billion in state and local taxes. That included $1.2 billion in personal income taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes, and $8.4 billion in sales taxes.
These figures should be kept in mind as politicians and commentators continue with the seemingly endless debate over what to do with unauthorized immigrants already living in the United States. In spite of the fact that they lack legal status, these immigrants—and their family members—are adding value to the U.S. economy; not only as taxpayers, but as workers, consumers, and entrepreneurs as well.