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

WASHINGTON Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:03am EDT

Immigrants stand for the invocation during a naturalization ceremony to become new U.S. citizens at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts March 21, 2013. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Immigrants stand for the invocation during a naturalization ceremony to become new U.S. citizens at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts March 21, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Granting citizenship to 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States could boost state and local government coffers by about $2 billion annually, said a liberal-leaning think tank study released on Wednesday.

The findings come as the House of Representatives debates the move as part of a revamp of immigration law after last month's U.S. Senate approval of legislation granting a pathway to citizenship.

The new state-by-state analysis from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy is based on tallies of increased income, sales, excise and property taxes that undocumented immigrants would pay if they gained legal status. They already pay $10.6 billion annually in taxes to state and local governments.

The analysis assumes newly legalized immigrants would earn higher wages. The biggest tax revenue bump would come from increased income taxes that new citizens would pay, according to the report, which used data from the Pew Hispanic Center to estimate state immigrant populations and family sizes.

The benefits to states would vary greatly. For example, in 2010, undocumented immigrants paid less than $2 million in taxes to Montana and more than $2.2 billion to California.

Illegal immigrant families pay about 6.4 percent on average of their income in state and local taxes, a figure that would increase to 7 percent if they won citizenship.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has reported that enactment of the Senate-passed bill would reduce deficits and curb the flow of illegal immigrants into the country.

The Senate bill won the backing of more than a dozen Republicans and calls for increased U.S.-Mexico border security as well as a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants. The bill's passage in the Republican-controlled House is far from certain.

Opponents of granting undocumented immigrants citizenship cite a study by the conservative Heritage Foundation that estimated legalization would cost $6.3 trillion over a half century due to increased use of federal services and benefits.

(Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Andrew Hay)

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Comments (8)
tmc wrote:
Really? I mean…Really?? More propaganda to support an unpopular political move. Just look around at comments on both right and left leaning sites and blogs. The vast majority of Americans do not want this so called immigration reform. Most do want reform, but not this political “who can get the most votes for their party” bill that is also full of pork.

Jul 10, 2013 8:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
canstacker wrote:
By law these ‘undocumented’ immigrants are illegal. Do not grant them amnesty. Enforce our current laws. Secure our boarders.

Jul 10, 2013 8:55am EDT  --  Report as abuse
actnow wrote:
Never a word from Reuters about the true costs of the Senates mass amnesty, no enforcement scheme. Cherry picking stories that promote this garbage seems to be their MO. Americans see what is happening and what is at stake. Keep flooding your House and Senate reps with e-mails, faxes, calls and tweets. Two great tools; Capital Switchboard is 202 224-3121 (call often and with passion) and numbersUSA.com website. Use them and passs them on. Americans can prevail, despite the rantings of Chuck Schumer and various media spin artists. Get involved and call today!

Jul 10, 2013 9:01am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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