Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Report: California Received $3.2 Billion In Taxes From Those In The Country Illegally

Photo credit: Associated Press

A U.S. Border Patrol vehicle is stationed between the primary and secondary fences along the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, July 20, 2008.

A recent report says that in 2012, California received more than $3.2 billion in taxes from people who were in the U.S. illegally. The report comes from the Washington, D.C.-based Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

“The idea that undocumented individuals are paying nothing into the system at all is ludicrous on its face," said Matthew Gardner, the group's executive director.

The institute found more than $11.5 billion a year in taxes paid nationally by those who entered the country illegally. The institute says it arrived at its numbers through several data points about these immigrants, including estimated populations and estimated taxes paid. The researchers say sales taxes for goods and services and property taxes are the two biggest sources of these payments.

“If you’re a renter, you’re paying property taxes in the form of higher rent," Gardner said. "The landlord is passing it on to you.”

An official with the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a nonprofit that seeks to reduce immigration, takes issue with the report. Communications Director Ira Mehlmen said more is paid out in services than comes in from taxes.

“The biggest items are public education," Mehlmen said. "The Supreme Court, back in 1982, ruled that local governments are obligated to provide free public education to illegal aliens in this country.”

The report says the California tax total was the highest in the nation, followed by Texas at $1.5 billion and New York at $1.09 billion.


San Diego News Matters podcast branding

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.

  • Don’t have time to keep up on the latest news? We’ve got you covered with a mid-week check-in every Wednesday afternoon.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.