IMMIGRANTS, TAXES and USE OF WELFARE
“Immigrants don’t pay taxes!” “Immigrants use the welfare system and
don’t give anything in return.” It is a refrain heard often around the
country. But nothing could be further from the truth. As the statistics
below show, immigrants pay lots of taxes – federal taxes, social security
taxes, state and local taxes, business taxes, property taxes, excise taxes
and taxes embedded in sales and meals. And there is no evidence that
they use welfare any more than the native-born.
There is also a myth that undocumented immigrants don’t pay any
taxes. It is estimated that at least 70 percent of undocumented
immigrants work “on the table” through IRS assigned numbers or fake
documents. Moreover, Stephen Goss, Social Security’s chief actuary,
says that “our assumption is that about three-quarters of other-than-
legal pay payroll taxes”.
Immigrants do pay taxes – lots of taxes!
A June 2009 study “Massachusetts Immigrants by the Numbers:
Demographic characteristics and Economic Footprint” found that:
Immigrants comprised 16.4% of the state income tax filers in 2005, higher
than their 14.1% share of population and showed a significant propensity to
pay income taxes.
They paid $1.2 billion in Massachusetts state income taxes in 2005.
Massachusetts’ immigrant-headed households paid $1.06 billion in local
property taxes in 2007.
Immigrants paid $346 million in sales and excise taxes in 2006 or 14.5
percent of the total.
Low rates of incarceration and institutionalization among immigrants balance
costs associated with educating immigrant children.
Immigrants’ reliance on public assistance income is about the same as for
A study by the Immigration Policy Center in Washington, DC found that
immigrant households and businesses generate billions: In 2005, immigrant
households and businesses paid approximately $300 billion in federal, state, and
local taxes: $165 billion in federal income taxes, $85 billion in state an