Legalizing the estimated 132,000 illegal immigrants working in the Houston area would result in an additional $1.4 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues, a Houston business advocacy group said last week at an immigration seminar at Rice University.
The report from the Greater Houston Partnership said the undocumented workers in the region earned $7 billion in fiscal 2008.
Governments would benefit if those workers received the prevailing wage, and if they and their employers paid all appropriate federal income, Social Security and unemployment taxes.
Patrick Jankowski, vice president of research, said the latest report lowers the estimate of undocumented workers in the Houston area from the 250,000 it reported in 2006.
Jankowski said the earlier estimate was probably too high.
The group said undocumented workers contribute an estimated $27.3 billion to the Houston area’s gross regional product, or about 8.4% of total gross regional product.
The report does not estimate the cost to local governments of providing services to those workers and their families. It also assumes that the workers are not paying federal income taxes.
The state’s undocumented population was estimated at 1.7 million in 2010 by the Pew Hispanic Center.