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Undocumented immigrants pay more than their fair share in taxes

Globe Staff

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S tax returns remain a mystery, but the collective tax payments of the undocumented immigrants he loves to bash are not: They contribute an estimated $11.74 billion a year in state and local taxes.

That’s an effective tax rate of 8 percent nationwide. By way of comparison, the top 1 percenters pay an average effective tax rate of 5 percent. In Massachusetts, the combined tax payments of all immigrants living here illegally amount to $184 million.

These are numbers that are hardly ever acknowledged. Yet they’re important data points that show how much unauthoritzed immigrants punch above their weight. Taxes aren’t their only contribution: Immigrants also boost consumer spending through their massive purchasing power, fill jobs that no one else would take, and help business grow at a relatively low cost.

Of course, undocumented immigrants also use government services and public resources. But the nonpartisan consensus among economists is that the contribution of these workers absolutely outweighs their cost.


The Trump administration is hellbent on implementing harsh policies to push undocumented workers further into the shadows, and ultimately wants them all deported. But that will come at a huge cost both to the economy — and the government’s coffers.