Public discussion in Oregon about undocumented immigrant workers and their families has tended to focus on the costs to Oregon of providing certain public services to these families. Relatively little is mentioned about the contributions undocumented workers make to Oregon.
Undocumented workers are an important part of Oregon's economy. The work they perform is vital in certain industries. In addition, a substantial portion of the roughly $2 billion they earn in income each year is spent on goods, services, and taxes in Oregon, to the benefit of the state economy.
This issue brief estimates the total contributions by undocumented Oregon workers in state income taxes, property taxes, and excise taxes. In addition, this issue brief computes the approximate amount undocumented workers pay in federal Social Security and Medicare taxes, which are matched by employers. Last, it also estimates the amount Oregon employers pay in state unemployment insurance taxes on behalf of undocumented workers.
Data on undocumented workers is limited. Though it is not possible to determine precisely the tax contributions made by undocumented workers, the available data allows reasonable estimates of the likely scale of tax payments they make.