Betcha didn’t know: Who are immigrants and do they pay taxes?

While the article below about immigration was written partially in response to the murder of Marcelo Lucero, it has very important facts for all Long Islanders to understand about immigration. The article, “They’re a part of the island: Immigrants contribute to community” by David Dyssegaard Kallick, is at Newsday: here.

Some key facts in a little Q&A:

Q: What job is the top job for immigrants in Long Island?

A: “…registered nurse is the No. 1 occupation of all the immigrants in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Long Island has nearly 10,000 foreign-born nurses – almost one out of every three RNs here.”

Q: Do documented immigrants pay taxes?

A: Of course.

Q: But, do undocumented immigrants pay taxes?

A: A hearty yes.

As the article notes, everyone pays sales tax, which goes to our state and county governments. Then, there is the property tax. If an undocumented worker owns a home, then she is directly paying property tax. But, even as a renter, her rent is covering the taxes her landlord must then pay.

Though, what some people don’t realize is that undocumented workers do often pay into the Social Security system in various ways. The article notes: “In New York State, some 91,000 people – most probably undocumented workers – filed income taxes using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers in 2003, and probably an even bigger number in subsequent years.”

And, an important point made by the article:

“…make no mistake, immigrants are crucial to the New York economy. First-generation immigrants – documented and undocumented combined – are responsible for 22 percent of the gross domestic product in New York State, slightly higher than their 21 percent share of the state population.”

For more information on the positive contribution of immigrants (both documented and undocumented) to the Long Island economy, you can go to Or, to the think-tank the author is connected to at: Fiscal Policy Institute.

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