In California, undocumented immigrants contributed to $3 billion in taxes each year. Tulare County’s undocumented immigrants paid $32.4 million.
According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, there are an estimated 35,800 undocumented immigrants in Tulare County.
The recent State and Local Tax Contributions of Undocumented Californians study reported those undocumented immigrants paid $16.7 million in the form of property taxes and local sales taxes to Tulare County and $15.7 million in the form of personal income taxes and sales and excise taxes to the state.
“California’s undocumented immigrants make profound economic, social, and cultural contributions to our state each and every day,” said Cynthia Buiza, executive director of the California Immigrant Policy Center. “As anti-immigrant rhetoric, and mass deportations continue to spread fear, threaten the livelihood of workers, and tear at the fabric of immigrant communities, we will fight to preserve and expand opportunities for all Californians.”
The study also estimates that if the people who are undocumented became legal it could add an additional $4.2 million in revenue.
“Undocumented immigrants contribute taxes when they purchase goods and service property taxes home and may pay state taxes,” said Josue Chavarin, a California Endowment program associate.
The added revenue would be generated just like other citizens, by their effective tax rate, which would increase their state and local tax contributions, Chavarin said.
He added that undocumented immigrants do more than contribute tax money – they are entrepreneurs and they contribute culturally to create a vibrant community.
“Reports like this one allows counties like Tulare to fully understand the tax contributions of the undocumented immigrants,” Chavarin said. “We believe that undocumented immigrants pay taxes like everyone and should get the same services like everyone else.”
The reports come a few days after May Day, a day where the United Farm Workers gathered to resist President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies.
“In some respect, there is an economic value that they contribute,” Chavarin said. “But, they would be able to contribute more if they had equal status.”
Danielle A. Martin