| WASHINGTON, July 10
WASHINGTON, July 10 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 U.S. 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
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.