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Advocacy group: immigrants help state

Posted by Travis Andersen  June 30, 2009 10:30 AM

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The Immigrant Learning Center has released a new study on the fiscal impact
of new arrivals.

By Travis Andersen
Town Correspondent

The Malden-based Immigrant Learning Center has released a study claiming that new arrivals help the state economy rather than hurt it, citing figures from the US Census Bureau.

"There is so much hysteria about immigrants," said Marcia Hohn, public education director at the center. "The idea that they don't pay taxes, suck our welfare coffers dry, and don't give anything back. We're trying to show that that's not true, in fact."

The center commissioned UMass-Boston professors Alan Clayton-Matthews and Paul Watanabe to conduct the study, entitled "Massachusetts Immigrants by the Numbers: Demographic Characteristics and Economic Footprint." They released their findings at a State House news conference last week.

The researchers found that in 2007, nearly half of an estimated 900,000 immigrants in Massachusetts were naturalized citizens. The immigrant population paid $1.2 billion in state income taxes in 2005, the study found, as well as $346 million in sales and excise taxes in 2006, and $1.06 billion in local property taxes in 2007.

In addition, the researchers found that Malden had the second-highest concentration of immigrants in the state, behind Chelsea.

They plugged Census figures into a tax analysis formula to get their numbers - which don't add up, according to Jim Rizoli of Concerned Citizens and Friends of Illegal Immigration Law Enforcement, a Framingham-based group seeking a crackdown on undocumented workers.

"They don't pay for anything," Rizoli said, claiming that Framingham spends millions on English language instruction for undocumented children. "The amount of tax paid on a candy bar or a bar of soap is minimal (compared to city expenditures)."

On Wednesday, Gov. Deval Patrick will receive the center's study as part of a report on immigrant life in Massachusetts, which he commissioned last summer.

Hohn said she hopes the report - and the study in particular - will help Patrick and state lawmakers reach common ground on such hot-button issues as driver's licenses for the undocumented and in-state college tuition for their children, among other concerns.

"It's about creating a welcoming environment as opposed to a hostile environment," Hohn said. "So immigrants can thrive, learn English, and pay taxes."

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10 comments so far...
  1. It seems the advocacy group has it wrong. There is a huge difference between those who legally immigrate to the US and those who come here illegally. Those who come here legally have to prove a source of income. Those who come here legally, drain our hospitals and our social systems as well as take jobs from Americans. Americans for LEGAL Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) stands by our legal immigrants and oppose illegal migration. www.alipac.us

    Posted by JP June 30, 09 01:09 PM
  1. That great Massachusetts, here in California we have 5 million unneeded surplus "immigrants" who have taken jobs from now unemployed Americans and who are using billions more in public services than they pay in taxes thus creating a giant budget deficit. Please send busses for them. so they can help your state.

    Thanks.

    Posted by Bowman June 30, 09 01:19 PM
  1. What a sham! Illegal immigrants are a drain on our economy! They DO take jobs away from Americans and LEGAL immigrants. Just ask my dad the welder, and my brother the contractor. Both lost their jobs because of illegals. How is that beneficial?

    Posted by Dave June 30, 09 01:24 PM
  1. This lady is trying to keep her job...liberal America is destroying the America we once new.....the liberals keep giving everything from health care to property away for FREE to not just immigrants who came here illegally but lazy lazy lazy gimmie citizens....all you lazy people get off your arses and get a job....any job!

    Posted by Mike July 1, 09 12:09 AM
  1. The Immigrant Learning Center has it right. Without immigrants there'd be even more boarded up businesses and empty homes. This is a nation of immigrants and don't you forget it. Dave: too bad your dad and brother and millions of others lost their jobs, but don't blame immigrants for the mess. The crooks on wall street and Washington stole the money in the first place and then took all the "stimulus" money that Bush and Obama gave them. Why would anyone blame hard working new-Americans when the real crooks are getting away with murder?

    Posted by Joe Spacco July 1, 09 02:32 AM
  1. It is amazing that they get away with this. Do you think any of us could move to their country of origin and obtain public resouces?

    It sounds like the premise of the "study" is a bit self serving too as Concerned Citizens pointed out.

    Posted by John July 1, 09 07:58 AM
  1. Let's deal with facts. It is important to know that undocumented immigrants are not eligible for any social benefits such as food stamps, AFDC and housing assistance. Even legal immigrants have a five year waiting period. Immigrant children do use school services but remember two things -- 1) many of these children are native-born and U.S. citizens and 2) when you consider what all immigrants (both undocumented and undocumented) pour into tax payments and consumer spending , then schools costs are balanced. Moreover, the Social Security system has a net benefit of $500 billion through undocumented immigrants paying into the system without receiving credit for future SS. The IRS estimates that 75% of the undocumented population pay into federal and state tax systems.

    Posted by Marcia Hohn July 1, 09 01:22 PM
  1. IN RESPONSE TO MARCIA HOHN

    Let's deal with facts. It is important to know that undocumented immigrants are not eligible for any social benefits such as food stamps, AFDC and housing assistance.

    {{{They are not eligible to be here or working here either if they are here never the less due to lies and fraudulent documentation do you suppose mere ineligibility has or ever would stop them from receiving food stamps, AFDC and public housing when they can just lie and forge their papers.}}}

    Even legal immigrants have a five year waiting period.

    {{{I see this as vesting it takes longer for Social Security}}}

    Immigrant children do use school services but remember two things -- 1) many of these children are native-born and U.S. citizens

    {{{You mean anchor babies eligible for public services}}}

    and 2) when you consider what all immigrants (both undocumented and undocumented) pour into tax payments and consumer spending, then school costs are balanced.

    {{{This only makes a truth if you lump the two classes of entrants together as though any benefit to the presence in America of legal immigrants should go primarily to illegal aliens.}}}

    Moreover, the Social Security system has a net benefit of $500 billion through undocumented immigrants paying into the system without receiving credit for future SS.

    {{{Which benefit would be gone from legitimate recipients if the violators were receiving Social Security since the amount they would receive would be larger than what they paid in.}}}

    The IRS estimates that 75% of the undocumented population pay into federal and state tax systems.

    {{{In some form but it is usually not their total legal required amount and nowhere the amount they receive in education, health care and incarceration. We are responsible for our own poor not those families who have come and willfully violated the rights of Americans.}}}

    YOUR ATTEMPT TO LUMP US WITH THEM SHOWS WHERE YOUR PRIORITIES ARE WERE YOU IN CHARGE OF A CAR DRIVERS ADVOCACY GROUP LIKE AAA YOU WOULD BE TRYING TO FACILITATE SPEEDING

    Posted by R. B., a legal immigrant July 2, 09 02:05 AM
  1. Am I still living in America? What ever happened to:

    "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

    People come here to escape persecution and poverty, work their a** off for crap pay, pay taxes, but can't collect benefits and instead of sympathy from their fellow Americans they get hate and prejudice. You people are such hypocrites. This is a land of immigrants. Don't pin your problems on the last ones through the door. They didn't take your job and foreclose your house. Some people are getting real rich while all you ignorant people are blaming immigrants.

    Posted by Joe Spacco July 3, 09 12:44 PM
  1. What you are quoting from is not by an elected official but rather one of America's thousands of poets Emma Lazarus. She was writing for an arts auction in 1883 and she and her work have no more legitimacy as a part of the American canon than "The Coming American" by Samuel Walter Foss or "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg for that matter. Immigration into any country is supposed to be a mutually consensual process. I will not surrender my rights as an American citizen so that people who want to engage in social engineering can replace a current policy and system of laws the result of democratic consensus with a constituency more to their liking. Emma Lazarus and her ouvre are not a replacement for our rights.

    Posted by R.B., a legal immigrant July 3, 09 10:17 PM