Immigration Pays Dividends for Communities Across the Country

#StandOnEveryCorner in St. Paul

#StandOnEveryCorner in St. Paul

Citizens or not, documented or not, immigrants make major contributions to U.S. communities every day. A Ball State University study looked at the contributions of immigrants in Indiana.

“Even those [in the country illegally] tend to work at very high rates,” said Michael Hicks, an author of the study and professor of economics at Ball State. “They tend to pay enormous share of taxes, but don’t use tax benefits at very high rates. They’re not available. So, it’s very difficult to dodge taxes, but if you’re not a legal immigrant, there aren’t many services open to you. These tend to be positive benefits as well. They’re paying into the pot, and not pulling very much out.”

It’s not just Indiana: cities and small towns across the country report a “rejuvenating bounce” from new immigrants, and worry about the slowdown in immigration under Trump. The positive financial contributions come from refugees and asylees, too. While they may need assistance in their early years, over time they contribute billions more in taxes than the amount of assistance they receive.

Despite the value of immigrants to the economy and government revenues, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is slowing the pace of new immigration. Congressional Democrats are asking for an investigation of the massive backlogs and growing delays in processing applications by USCIS. Even with those delays, USCIS reports a 55 percent increase in naturalizations, with 163,000 people sworn in as new citizens last year. Why?

““I think that now they’re really seeing the importance of having a voice in our democracy by being able to vote. Especially with all the negative rhetoric that’s being said about immigrants and immigrant communities,” said [immigration attorney Iliana] Holguin.

“She says a lot of the time people can’t even afford the fee to acquire citizenship, which is why this increase is a big deal.

“The $725 fee a lot of times is the reason that people have not submitted their application, even though they’ve been eligible to do so for potentially many years,” said Holguin.”


About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet,, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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