Some analysts are pushing immigration reform because they feel that it could ultimately benefit the revenues that the various states like California would take in. One study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy reported that there would be increased taxes paid by undocumented workers concerning income, sales, excise and property. Presumably this would happen because these same immigrants would have the opportunity to obtain better jobs and be paid a higher income.
It is estimated that immigrants already pay $10.6 billion in taxes each year to state and local governments. Through a pathway to citizenship for many of these undocumented workers these same governments combined could take in an additional $2 billion.
California would especially benefit because of changes to the law. Undocumented immigrants are paying about 6.4 percent of their income to states on average, but this number would increase to 7 percent if citizenship was granted.
Of course, there is debate as to how much the cost of benefits paid to these immigrants would be if these individuals became citizens. There is really no way to say one way or the other what that amount would be. Though opponents try to claim there will be a specific cost that may also be assuming that these immigrants will not be making a substantial contribution in return.
That the United States would take in substantially more revenue if citizenship were granted to many undocumented workers suggests that many such workers are currently underpaid and likely treated unfairly. As lawyers we cannot always control what direction employment-based immigration laws will take. However, we can represent immigrants in court to make certain that they are treated fairly under our current laws.
Source: West Central Tribune, "Report: Immigration overhaul could boost U.S. states' revenue," by Kim Dixon, July 10, 2013