This week, crowds of peaceful immigration reform supporters gathered outside post offices in several cities bearing signs with slogans stating “We Love Taxes!” and “Viva Taxes!” in an effort to demonstrate that there are millions of undocumented immigrants who are eager for a chance to be brought into American civil society and pay taxes as part of their civic duty. Advocates also submitted thousands of blank tax forms to federal lawmakers that could’ve been filled out to by undocumented immigrants who have the capacity to generate billions in tax revenue.
Responding to the immigration reform advocates, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) claimed that anyone these protesters can’t be “real Americans” because “real Americans” don’t embrace the notion of paying taxes:
“Oh man. How do they come up with this? They won’t be real Americans if they love taxes,” said Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican who rallied with the tea partiers later in the day.
He said the IRS won’t turn down any extra revenue from illegal immigrants who want to pay it now, but also doubted legalization would be a good deal for American taxpayers
King is wrong on both accounts. The truth is that an overwhelming majority of Americans recognize the need to do their part in contributing to the nation’s welfare in the form of taxes. Eighty percent of Americans support maintaining spending levels on domestic programs such as education, health care, and Social Security over lowering taxes. Moreover, a new New York Times/CBS News poll finds that most Americans, 62 percent, regard the income taxes they personally pay as fair, regardless of political partisanship, ideology, or income level.
Legalization of undocumented immigrants wouldn’t just be a good deal for American taxpayers, it would be a great deal. A study released by the Immigration Policy Center and the Center for American Progress found that legalizing undocumented immigrants through comprehensive immigration reform would generate $4.5 to $5.4 billion in additional net tax revenue within three years. The study predicted that ultimately the benefits of immigration reform would go beyond pure tax revenue and would yield at least $1.5 trillion in cumulative U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years. It also found that any mass deportation strategy, including the attrition through enforcement approach King promotes, would result in a cumulative reduction in GDP of $2.6 trillion over 10 years.