Immigrants who Trump calls a 'burden' actually pay billions a year in taxes


A new report shows that Dreamers pay millions of dollars in federal and state taxes, in direct contradiction to the administration's rhetoric about undocumented immigrants.

Donald Trump likes to talk about how immigrants are a "burden" to American taxpayers, but that's just a lie. A new report highlights just how much Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients contribute in taxes each year, and it's a staggeringly large amount.

The Center for American Progress (CAP) looked at how much Dreamers in each state pay in taxes — both federal and state. In California, where 29% of all DACA recipients live, they pay over $2 billion in federal taxes and $1 billion to the state. In Texas, where 17% of Dreamers reside, it's $750 million to the federal government and $417 million to Texas' coffers. In all, 41 states see contributions of over $1 million from Dreamers each year, and in 12 states, that number jumps to $50 million in state and local taxes per year.

The contributions that DACA recipients make to the federal tax base are even greater than they may first appear. When then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of DACA, he said that doing so would protect taxpayers, but Dreamers actually pay more, on average, than most Americans because they aren't eligible for safety-net programs like food stamps or Medicaid.

The economic benefits of having DACA recipients stay in the United States don't stop with taxes. CAP found that DACA recipients pay millions in mortgage and rent payments. In 20 states, it exceeds $6 million per year.

None of this matters to the administration, presumably, because dismantling DACA has been a long-range plan and they've tried nearly every justification in the books. They tried saying it increases the immigration of nondocumented people, but DACA only applies to people who arrived here before 2007. Sessions also said that DACA recipients take jobs away from Americans, which would only be true if the labor market never expanded and increased the number of jobs.

Expect to hear more half-baked hate-fueled rhetoric about Dreamers from the administration and other conservatives in the next few months. In November, the Supreme Court is set to hear whether the Department of Justice acted lawfully when it announced it was canceling DACA, so the Trump team has to keep the pressure on.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.