Taxing Immigrants

The study in this article may deal with only the D.C. area, but its data about immigrants and taxes adds some good fuel to the debate. In short, it says that, while undocumented immigrants pay less than their portion of income taxes, they do contribute toward other taxes unfailingly, and documented immigrants pay just about their statistical share of all taxes, including those on income. Overall, it says, D.C.-area immigrants "carry their share of the tax burden."

The article states that the undocumented pay less in taxes "partly because they earn less but also because many are paid off the books and escape payroll taxes." If they're paid off the books, it's safe to assume they receive little to no work benefits in addition to earning lower wages. The study also mentions that those who use falsified Social Security cards to gain employment are in fact paying money into the Social Security system that they will never reap.

In response to those who claim the undocumented pay no taxes and yet reap benefits paid for by tax revenues, in addition to those who do in fact pay income taxes:

"'There's sales tax, there's property tax, there's consumption taxes on alcohol, on cars, on gasoline, on utilities,' said Jeffrey S. Passel, a demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center who co-authored the report."

Keep in mind, however, that immigrants in the D.C. area tend to earn more money and are more likely to have documents than those in other parts of the country because of the presence of "think tanks, embassies and the high-tech industry". That means that D.C.-area immigrants probably pay more in taxes than those in other parts of the country.

The study comes from the nonpartisan Urban Institute.


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