Undocumented Immigrants' State and Local Tax Contributions

In the public debates over federal immigration reform, much has been made of the argument that undocumented immigrants would be a drain on federal, state and local government resources if granted legal status under reform. But it is also true that the 11.2 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States are already taxpayers, and that their local, state and federal tax contributions would increase under reform.

This report provides state-by-state estimates on the state and local tax contributions of the 11.2 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

The key findings are:

• Undocumented immigrants currently contribute significantly to state and local taxes, collectively paying an estimated $10.6 billion in 2010 with contributions ranging from less than $2 million in Montana to more than $2.2 billion in California. This means these families are likely paying about 6.4 percent on average of their income in state and local taxes.

• Allowing undocumented immigrants to work in the United States legally would increase their state and local tax contributions by an estimated $2 billion a year. Their effective state and local tax rate would also increase to 7 percent on average, which would put their tax contributions more in line with documented taxpayers with similar incomes.

Complete Report (PDF)

Press Release (PDF) 

This report was made possible in part by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.

Media Coverage:

Reuters: Immigration overhaul could boost U.S. states' revenue

The Record: Immigrant tax study sees $81M gain for N.J.

The Huffington Post: Undocumented Immigrants Would Pay Billions More In Taxes If Allowed To Work Legally

Newsday: Immigrant status change could mean millions in tax revenue for NY

For all news coverage of ITEP click here






Download images from the report here.

Infographic- Do undocumented immigrants pay state and local taxes?

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Scroll over each state to see how much undocumented immigrants already contribute in state and local taxes and how much they will contribute post-reform:


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