Strengthen Ohio by including undocumented immigrants
Posted August 21, 2019 in Press Releases
A path to citizenship would increase tax revenue by $25 million
If all undocumented immigrants in Ohio had a pathway to citizenship, the amount they collectively pay in taxes would increase by 31%, from $83.2 million to $108.7 million, according to the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP). A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) calls on state and local policymakers to take four key steps to better integrate undocumented immigrants into the mainstream economy.
People who are undocumented make sizable contributions to the economy as well as their local communities. The nation’s estimated 11 million immigrants who are undocumented pay nearly $12 billion annually in state and local taxes. Households headed by a person who is undocumented pay a larger share of their income in state and local taxes than the highest-income 1 percent of U.S. households, according to CBPP.
“At a time when federal immigration policies are causing widespread harm, it is both sound policy and beneficial to states to pursue supportive policies that assuage fears and provide opportunity for all of their residents — regardless of their national origin, their religion, the color of their skin, or the language they speak,” Senior Policy Analyst Eric Figueroa of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explained.
Ohio is one of only 21 states that have not enacted any of the four policies recommended in the report:
- Ohio has just six investigators to protect working people from wage theft. Stronger law enforcement will ensure all workers, regardless of immigration status, are fully paid for all the hours they work.
- Expanding health coverage to all children, regardless of immigration status, can improve long-term health outcomes, high school and college completion, and long-term economic benefits for the child and for states and communities. Only six states and D.C. offer health care coverage to all children.
- In-state tuition and state financial aid for college students who are undocumented will boost the skills and wages of the state workforce. Twenty-one states and D.C. have adopted “tuition equity” laws and 12 of these states plus D.C. offer state financial aid to students who are undocumented.
- Allowing undocumented immigrants to hold drivers licenses can help them get better jobs, make roads safer, and modestly reduce insurance premiums. Fourteen states and D.C. allow immigrants to get driver’s licenses regardless of their status.
“The Trump Administration has been obsessed with immigrants – especially those from Latin America – as a political target since day one. They disguise political attacks as policy, which in the end devastates families and hurts our communities,” said Policy Matters Outreach Director Daniel Ortiz. “Ohio can go a different way. Our leaders can choose smart policies that will make our state stronger and safer. Together, we can be a beacon for tolerance and acceptance, and strengthen our economy in the process.”