From Two Weeks Notice:
From the Immigration Policy Center, here’s a table regarding state and local taxes paid by households headed by undocumented immigrants in 2010, which totaled an estimated $11.2 billion. It’s from last year, but I hadn’t seen it before. There is a very, very common belief—often rooted simply in misunderstanding rather than any antipathy—that undocumented immigrants pay almost nothing in taxes.
Immigrants pay taxes. And get few social services. Something to think about, especially if you believe in the Founders’ principle of “no taxation without representation.”
Just to emphasize: In 2010 undocumented (i.e. “illegal”) immigrants paid more than $130 million in taxes in Alabama; since then, Alabama passed a draconian anti-immigration law and is suffering economic repercussions. In Mississippi (which is considering such a law), undocumented immigrants paid more than $52 million in taxes in 2010. Based on the 2010 fiscal year report from the state of Mississippi (page 7), that comes out to just over 11% of total state taxes (total revenue collected was $4.37 billion; I subtracted the local property taxes from the total in the column). The total (“legal” and “illegal”) Hispanic population in Mississippi is 2.7% according to the 2010 census. So a group that is probably less than 1% of the state’s population (assuming 1/3 of Hispanics are “illegal” immigrants) is estimated to have paid ten times its share in taxes.
If you think the math is funny, just think about it: About half of all Americans pay little or no income taxes, after they file for their returns they get refunds (all those “welfare” programs like child credits, home improvement incentives, and other deductions add up). Undocumented immigrants still pay payroll taxes (not to mention sales and property taxes)—but because of their legal status, undocumented immigrants never file income tax returns (and, hence, don’t get refunds). So they pay a much higher effective tax rate than probably anyone else in their income bracket. Bottom line: “illegal” immigration is a net economic benefit to the local, state, and federal economy.