NowThis Opinions
S2 E34

Robert Reich on Trump's Myth that Immigrants Don't Pay Taxes

One of Trump’s favorite myths about immigrants is that they don’t pay taxes and are a drain on government resources — but former labor secretary Robert Reich says there are multiple reasons why that’s all untrue.

First, he says foreign-born Americans pay more than $300 billion in federal, state, and local taxes.

“In some states, immigrants contribute as much as a quarter of all tax revenue,” he explained.

Second, immigrants do, in fact pay taxes. In 2015, undocumented immigrants paid an estimated $24 billion in federal taxes. They also pay another $11 billion in property taxes and state and local sales taxes.

Third, immigrants strengthen Social Security.

“Undocumented immigrants alone contribute an estimated $15 billion in Social Security taxes every year even though they are ineligible for collection Social Security,” Reich explained.

Immigrants are also mostly young and thereby strengthen Social Security as more Americans retire and begin withdrawing from it.

Fourth, immigration is good for the economy. Spending by immigrants drives economic growth and creates jobs rather than taking them away.

Fifth, historically, new immigrants have contributed more to society in taxes than they’ve taken from society in terms of public benefits.
“So the next time you hear anyone claiming that immigration is bad for the economy, know the truth,” said Reich.

MORE VIDEOS