Sorry, But Illegal Aliens Cost The U.S. Plenty
| Investor’s Business Daily
“Immigration: A center-left think tank has hailed new findings showing that illegal immigrants contribute $11.6 billion in state and local taxes nationwide. But that report really shows how little they pay compared to the rest of us.
If there’s any doubt America is importing poverty, take a look at a new study this week from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, which touts the $11.6 billion illegals pay in taxes to state and local coffers. This isn’t federal or payroll taxes, just cash paid through sales taxes, property taxes and city and state fees.
“Data show undocumented immigrants greatly contribute to our nation’s economy, not just in labor but also with tax dollars,” ITEP state tax policy director Meg Wiehe said in a statement. “With immigration policy playing a key role in state and national debates, accurate information about the tax contributions of undocumented immigrants is needed now more than ever.”
We couldn’t agree more. So let’s take a look at some actual accurate information:
With an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., that $11.6 billion comes to about $1,050 per person, which The Latin Post hails as “lots of taxes.” In fact, it’s less than the average paid by citizens in even the lowest-tax states, such as Tennessee, where the average per capita state and local tax burden is $2,805, not to mention high tax areas, like Washington, D.C., where the figure is $7,540, according to data from the Tax Foundation. Media reports point out that illegals pay about 8% of their incomes in state and local taxes, compared with 5.4% for “the 1%,” but ignore that average taxpayers, based on the Tax Foundation data, pay an average of 9.48%.
Well, sure, you might say, but once illegals get amnesty, they will contribute similar amounts as the rest of us, right? Actually, no.
Illegals have far less education than average Americans and correspondingly lower base incomes. Based on another study reported this week from two other center-left think tanks, if the U.S. handed out work permits, through a program such as Deferred Action For Parents Of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), it would add only 10% to illegals’ incomes — meaning, an additional $3,000 per capita, which would then see a small slice taken as state and local taxes, for a grand total of just $805 million to the government. It still wouldn’t approach the average Tennessee local tax rates, cited above.
Illegal immigrants in fact absorb far more in benefits than they contribute. The Heritage Foundation in 2013 found that illegals contribute an average of $10,000 in total taxes (federal and payroll as well as local taxes) but use almost $24,000 in welfare and services, creating a net $14,000 per capita gain per illegal worker.
With benefits like that — and a president determined to shower even more on them — it’s little wonder the world’s impoverished feel the red carpet is out for them to come here illegally.
Steven A. Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, said Heritage understates actual welfare use by illegals by its use of the federal government’s Current Population Survey. “In a more recent study where I looked at welfare use only (not taxes or other expense) using the much more accurate Survey of Income and Program Participation, I found that 62% of households headed by illegal immigrants used at least one major welfare program,” Camarota told IBD via email.
“Bottom line, illegal immigrants have a 10th grade education on average,” he said. “In the modern American economy people with that level of education tend to make modest wages and as result pay relatively little in taxes, at the same time they tend to use a lot in public services, regardless of legal status. In the case of illegals, they often receive benefits on behalf of their U.S.-born children. If you had to put it in a bumper sticker it would be: ‘there is a high cost to cheap labor.'”
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