Skip to content
Know Your Rights
Source: WNYC Studios
Subject: Immigration
Type: Media Coverage

Despite Myth, Undocumented Immigrants Pay Taxes but Receive Few Benefits

There are roughly 12.5 million people living in the United States without legal status. Those people, in addition to the nearly one million DACA recipients, are vilified in some circles due to the rhetoric surrounding immigration policy. Often mischaracterized as a burden on the American taxpayer, immigrants actually represent a significant contribution to tax revenues.

And yet despite their paying taxes, undocumented immigrants are unable to benefit from the government programs that their tax dollars help fund. It’s a situation that Yatziri Tovar is all too familiar with. She was brought to the United States when she was two years old. Her parents have dutifully filed their taxes every year, partly in hopes that eventual immigration reform will use those records as justification for a path toward permanent status.

Yatziri has recently benefited from her DACA status, and her tax dollars have helped fuel the $2 billion dollars in state and local taxes contributed by DACA recipients across this country. According to Meg Wiehe, deputy director at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, this money was instrumental in a circuit court judge’s decision to halt President Trump’s termination of the DACA program.

Tovar and Wiehe look at the financial state of undocumented immigrant taxpayers.

Listen to the segment at source.