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Unauthorized immigrants pay billions in taxes

Published on Mon, Apr 18, 2011

To mark the tax-filing deadline, the Immigration Policy Center released a report on Monday estimating that unauthorized immigrants paid $11.2 billion in state and local taxes last year, including $807 million in Florida.

The Florida total includes $69 million in property tax and $737 million in sales tax. Unauthorized immigrants also pay income taxes, but Florida has no state income tax.

The report compiled by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy estimated taxes by households headed by unauthorized immigrants in 2010.

"These figures should be kept in mind as politicians and commentators continue with the seemingly endless debate over what to do with unauthorized immigrants already living in the United States," said the Immigration Policy Center, a research group based in Washington. "In spite of the fact that they lack legal status, these immigrants -- and their family members -- are adding value to the U.S. economy; not only as taxpayers, but as workers, consumers, and entrepreneurs."

Some advocates for stricter immigration enforcement say that unauthorized foreign residents drain states and communities, in part by crowding schools and public health facilities. The report released Monday was designed to counter those complaints.

Researchers and politicians, meanwhile, continue to debate whether illegal immigration helps or hurts the economy of states like Florida. Immigrants pay taxes and provide labor while also tapping public resources.

Published in the Florida Sun Sentinel | Read Article