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Report: Undocumented Immigrants Pay More Taxes Than Wealthy

Undocumented immigrants, if not deported, are set to contribute nearly $5 trillion in U.S. economic output over the next decade. (Pixabay)
Undocumented immigrants, if not deported, are set to contribute nearly $5 trillion in U.S. economic output over the next decade. (Pixabay)
March 28, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The richest one percent of U.S. taxpayers pay less in taxes, just five percent of their income, than undocumented immigrants who pay eight percent. That's according to a new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Meg Wiehe, the director of programs for the group, says the findings show widespread claims that immigrants are a drain on taxpayers are simply not true.

"Like you and like me and like everyone else, they pay sales and excise taxes when they purchase goods and services, they pay property taxes directly on their homes or indirectly as renters, and many undocumented immigrants are also paying income taxes," she explained.

Wyoming currently relies on sales, excise and property taxes for nearly 70 percent of its revenues each year. Immigrants contribute some $4 million to Wyoming's tax coffers each year, and that number would rise by $400,000 if given legal status.

Nationally, undocumented immigrants contribute nearly $12 billion in taxes.

In his recent joint address to Congress, President Trump claimed immigrants cost American taxpayers billions of dollars a year. Wiehe notes even though immigrants pay taxes that support safety-net programs, they are not eligible for benefits that other low- and moderate-income families depend on.

"Undocumented immigrants are actually generally excluded from most public benefits," she said. "Many are paying into Social Security but will not receive the benefits from Social Security. They're not eligible for Medicaid, they're not eligible for food stamps."

A 2013 Social Security Administration report found undocumented workers paid $13 billion in Social Security taxes.

Researchers at City University of New York estimate mass deportation of immigrants would lead to a loss of nearly $5 trillion in U.S. economic output over the next decade.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - WY