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  • A rally demands immigration reform in Washington, April 10, 2013.

    A rally demands immigration reform in Washington, April 10, 2013. | Photo: AFP

Published 24 February 2016

The U.S. economy benefits hugely from the US$11.6 billion in tax contributions made by undocumented immigrants.

If the campaign promises of U.S. Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz to deport all undocumented immigrants from the country weren’t ridiculous enough already, new research shows just how much the country's economy would take a hit without the 11 million or so undocumented immigrants that contribute not just their labor, but billions of dollars in taxes.

According to a report published Wednesday, undocumented immigrants in the United States pay a total of US$11.6 billion in state and local taxes, and undocumented taxpayers’ economic contributions could be even higher if they are welcomed to stay in the U.S., not thrown out.

The report, called "Undocumented Immigrants’ State and Local Tax Contributions" and published by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, found that executive action on immigration that President Barack Obama has been pushing for would majorly increase tax contributions by undocumented immigrants, and comprehensive immigration reform would have an even bigger economic impact.

“Regardless of the politically contentious nature of immigration reform, the data show undocumented immigrants greatly contribute to our nation's economy, not just in labor but also with tax dollars,” said ITEP State Tax Policy Director Meg Wiehe in a statement Wednesday.

According to the report, full implementation of Obama’s executive action on immigration would increase undocumented tax contributions by US$805 million. Comprehensive immigration reform granting legal status to all undocumented immigrants would increase tax contributions by $US2.1 billion.

ITEP’s analysis found that undocumented immigrants collectively pay US$1.1 billion in income taxes, US$3.6 billion in property taxes, and US$6.9 billion in sales taxes, adding up to a total of US$11.6 billion.

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