President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration, when fully implemented, will inject an estimated $3 million into Hawaii’s coffers in the form of tax contributions from undocumented immigrants, according to a new report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

In a nationwide study released Wednesday, the Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan think tank estimated that undocumented immigrants in Hawaii collectively paid more than $31 million in state and local taxes in 2012.

The contribution will likely increase by an estimated $3 million once the president’s executive actions, issued in 2012 and 2014, are fully in place — and by as much as $10 million if all of Hawaii’s estimated 21,000 undocumented immigrants were to gain legal status under comprehensive immigration reform.


Courtesy of Korean Resource Center

Nationally, the Institute found that a collective tax contribution from undocumented immigrants reached more than $11.8 billion in 2012 and stands to increase by about $845 million under Obama’s executive actions.

Last year, Obama offered a temporary deportation reprieve to about 4 million undocumented immigrants in an executive action that built on his 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allowed about 1.2 million undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children to apply for a deportation reprieve. In Hawaii, the relief could be available to up to 7,000 undocumented immigrants.

The president’s move has been challenged in courts across the country by critics who contend that he has exceeded his authority.

The Institute calculated the increase in tax contributions by assuming a higher tax compliance rate among undocumented immigrants — currently at about 50 percent, according to the report. It also assumed that undocumented immigrants, now with the authority to work legally, will see an increase in their wages by “anywhere between 6 and 15 percent.”

About the Author