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Data reveals immigrants’ financial contribution to states

20th May 2013   ·   0 Comments

LOS ANGELES (Special from the Asian Journal and New America Media) – In California, Asian and Hispanic immigrants pay nearly $30 billion in federal taxes, $5.2 billion in state income taxes, and $4.6 billion in sales taxes each year.

In New York, immigrants are responsible for $229 billion in economic output in the state. Even in Alabama, a state not known for having a large immigrant population, the purchasing power of Asian and Latinos in Alabama totaled $5.8 billion since 1990.

The Immigration Policy Center released last week a partial state-by-state analysis highlighting the importance and economic impact of Asians and Latino immigrants in the United States.

The release of the data comes at a crucial time as the bipartisan “Gang of Eight’s” comprehensive immigration reform legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S., makes its way through Congress.

Introduced on April 17, the bill, S.744, formally known as the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, currently sits in the Senate Judiciary Committee where they were scheduled to discuss it on Tuesday, May 14.

The Immigration Policy Center data cites several eye-popping numbers about the contributions of Asian and Hispanic immigrants in the country.

For example, in California, which is home to 10.2 million immigrants (more than the total population of Michigan), “the average immigrant-headed household contributes a net $2,679 annually to Social Security, which is $539 more than the average U.S.-born household,” the research shows.

Acclaimed professors and researchers Marshall Fitz and Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda, reveals: If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from California, the state would lose $301.6 billion in economic activity, decrease total employment by 17.4 percent, and eliminate 3.6 million jobs.

And if unauthorized immigrants in California were legalized, it would add 633,000 jobs to the economy, increase labor income by $26.9 billion, and increase tax revenues by $5.3 billion, added Fitz and Hinojosa-Ojeda.

“Immigrants comprise more than one-third of the California labor force. They figure prominently in key economic sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and services. Immigrants provide leadership and labor for the expansion of California’s growing economic sectors – from telecommunications and information technology to health services and housing construction,” according to the Immigrant Policy Center data.

In places like Alabama, where undocumented immigrants comprise 4.2 percent of the state’s workforce, these workers paid $130.3 million in state and local taxes in 2010, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.

They cited a report by the Perryman Group, an economic and financial analysis firm. If all undocumented immigrants were removed from Alabama, the state would lose $2.6 billion in economic activity, $1.1 billion in gross state product, and approximately 17,819 jobs.

In Rhode Island, Perryman research reveals that the state would lose $698 million in economic activity, $310 million in gross state product, and 3,780 jobs.

In Texas, if all undocumented immigrants were removed from the state, it would lose $69.3 billion in economic activity, $30.8 billion in gross state product, and 403,174 jobs.

The data released highlights 10 of the 50 states. The Immigration Policy Center said they will plan the rest in the next few weeks.

This article originally published in the May 20, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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