Illegal Immigration: An Economic Drag, or a Boon for NJ?

From NJ 101.5 FM, February 24, 2016:
A new report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy finds New Jersey-based immigrants who are living in the country illegally pay than half a billion dollars a year in taxes. But some argue the cost of having them here is much greater than that — and say full-time taxpayers are footing the bill.

According to Erika Nava, a policy analyst for New Jersey Policy Perspective, the Garden state collects $590 million annually from immigrant living in the United States illegally.

She said that includes $274 million in property taxes, $267 million in sales taxes and $49 million in income taxes.

Nava pointed out the report finds New Jersey has the fifth-highest tax contribution from such immigrants in the nation, “because the Garden State has a large undocumented labor force — about 8 percent of the total labor force.”

She also said the report estimates New Jersey would get an additional $24 million in increased revenue if there is full implementation of the President Barack Obama’s executive actions, and comprehensive immigration reform would add another $77 million dollars to the total.

“Basically the idea is if you give undocumented immigrants the opportunity to come out of the shadows, pay taxes, they would do so,” she said.

Nava said some undocumented immigrants own houses and pay property taxes, but by New Jersey Policy Perspective’s way of talling the figures, renters also contribute to property taxes.

“Tenants pay their landlord their rent, part of it goes to property taxes, right, the landlord has to pay property taxes,” she said.