Undocumented immigrants’ economic contributions studied

Undocumented immigrants are significant contributors to the state’s economy, according to a  study by the Bell Policy Center and the Colorado Center on Law and Policy.

According to the two groups, illegal immigrants contribute as much to the economy in sales, property and income taxes as they cost the state in mandated services such as K-12 education.

Also from the study:
– Undocumented immigrants account for 5 percent of the state’s workforce and 3 percent of the state’s personal income. These workers produce 7 percent of Colorado’s economic output.
– Activity generated by illegal immigrants account for an additional 91,000 jobs statewide, $4.7 billion in personal income and $15 billion in industry output.
– Illegal immigrants pay an estimated $167.5 million in taxes in 2010, which covered the cost of education, emergency medical care and jail incarceration. The costs of those federally mandated services equaled $166.6 million, according to the Bell Policy Center.

“This analysis clearly shows that claims that undocumented immigrants are the cause of our budget problems are way off base,” said Rich Jones, director of policy and research at the Bell Policy Center. “They are not eligible for and do not receive most government services. In fact, they pay enough in taxes to cover the costs of providing federally mandated services to them.”

Other findings:
• In Colorado, for every job held by an undocumented immigrant, 0.8 jobs are created.
• Undocumented immigrants work mostly in construction, services, leisure and hospitality and manufacturing.
• Colorado had an estimated 15,763 undocumented students between 5 and 17 years old; funding for them represents less than 2 percent of total state and local K-12 spending.
• Colorado spent $26.5 million to provide emergency medical care to non-citizens in 2010-11 (not all of whom were undocumented immigrants). That total represents just over 0.5 percent of the state budget for health care.
• The net cost of holding undocumented immigrants in jails and prisons in Colorado was $32.5 million in 2009, or about 4.2 percent of the state budget for prisons.
• Undocumented immigrants live in our communities, and like all Colorado consumers pay sales taxes on the goods they buy. In 2010, this amounted to $114.6 million.
• Undocumented immigrants also paid $30.9 million in property taxes, mostly as part of their rent payments.
• Undocumented immigrants have $30.9 million in income taxes withheld from paychecks.

“Labor by undocumented immigrants ripples through all parts of Colorado’s economy,” said Alec Harris, a policy analyst for the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. “Like all groups of workers, undocumented immigrant workers spend their earnings, which supports local businesses, enabling those companies to hire more workers. It’s a positive cycle that stimulates the state’s economy.”

3 Responses to Undocumented immigrants’ economic contributions studied

  1. The Bell Policy people have a mission – “Mission: The Bell Policy Center believes Colorado should be a state of opportunity – a place where all people can build better lives for themselves and their families.”
    So where is the objectivity in our journalism today? This is just an unpaid political advertizement.

    Grumpy Grandpa
    April 26, 2011 at 7:54 am

  2. I am so sick and tired of the media trying to get acceptance of their liberal agenda… These are not ‘undocumented immigrants’. That is an affront to every citizen and evey immigrant that has gone through the process to be here legally. I do not believe these biased numbers presented here by a group with an agenda.

    A more accurate description is CRIMINAL INVADERS. Let’s see how they enrich the state:
    1. They broke our laws to sneak into this country,
    2. they steal our services paid by tax payers,
    3. they don’t pay taxes, (if you have a small business, you quickly find out that the only English they know when they buy something is “no taxes.”
    4. they send over $20B of our currency back to Mexico and points south rather than enriching our economy and helping local businesses,
    5. over 30% of our prison population is filled with these CRIMINAL INVADERS for the crimes they commit once they get here.
    6. income taxes? they want to be paid in cash.

    I recently read that these CRIMINAL INVADERS are costing the citizens of Colorado more than $57M per year. We didn’t invite them, we don’t need them and we would be better off with them. Maybe our unemployment rates would go down and our unemployed high school graduates and students would be able to get work to help pay for the ever rising cost of higher education in this state.

    david
    April 26, 2011 at 1:16 pm

  3. Kudos to you, David! The Bell Policy Center and the Colorado Center on Law and Policy might choose to plant their statistics on a more deserving subject matter. They also might consider using the correct terminology; illegal aliens. That’s the term used at the law office which handles immigration matters. When one is driving without a driver’s license, is he/she referred to as an ‘undocumented driver?

    Elizabeth Rand
    April 26, 2011 at 5:07 pm