Here’s a talking point for Democrats: President Obama’s executive actions on immigration will generate an extra $845 million in taxes annually from immigrants living here illegally. But that’s just a drop in the bucket compared with the $11.8 billion they already pay.
Those estimates come from a new report by the well-regarded Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a nonpartisan nonprofit that has for decades issued research on federal, state and local tax policy. The latest report even breaks it down by state: Undocumented immigrants in California were responsible for more than a fourth of the estimated $11.8 billion in taxes paid by the nation’s undocumented immigrants.
As a group in California, they paid an estimated $3.2 billion in taxes in 2012. Montana’s 6,000-person undocumented population paid just $3.2 million. Overall, about $7 billion was estimated to have come from sales and excise taxes, $3.6 billion in property taxes and $1.1 billion in personal income taxes.
The president’s executive actions granting some immigrants a temporary reprieve from the threat of deportation would add $845 million annually, while granting permanent status to each of the estimated 11.4 million immigrants here illegally would add $2.2 billion.
Here’s how much more each state can expect to get annually under the president’s actions:
ITEP estimates that undocumented immigrants in 2012 also paid an effective tax of 8 percent, which is well above the estimated effective rate of 5.4 percent paid by the nation’s top 1 percent of taxpayers. That discrepancy shouldn’t come as much of a surprise: ITEP earlier this year noted that the bottom fifth of earners pay twice the rate of the top 1 percent. (That’s because every state has an at least somewhat-regressive tax system, it found, with the poor paying a bigger share of their incomes in combined taxes than the rich.)
The effective rate would rise to 8.7 percent under the president’s actions or if permanent status was granted to all, ITEP estimates.
The report’s projections rest on estimates related to state undocumented immigrant populations, average immigrant family sizes, the range of immigrant family and taxpayer income, and the number of immigrant homeowners. The sources of all that data include the respected Migration Policy Institute, the Pew Research Center and ITEP. ITEP then used a computer model to arrive at its estimates for effective tax rates for immigrants by state.
Read the full report here.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the relationship between effective tax rates for undocumented immigrants and the top 1 percent. The former pay a higher rate than the latter.