Do you want to deport the 26,666 undocumented workers living in Rhode Island? Hope you’ve got a plan to cover the $17.9 million state and local tax vacuum it would create, in addition to another $25 million in federal taxes.
The New American Economy, an immigration advocacy group started by Michael Bloomberg, released state and city-level data earlier this week that shows how many immigrants are in Rhode Island, and how much they contribute to the Ocean State economy as part of a 50 state analysis.
All told, there are 137,432 immigrants residents in Rhode Island, or 13 percent of state population. In Massachusetts, immigrants account for 15.6 percent of the state population and Connecticut is just slightly higher than Rhode Island at 13.7 percent. New Hampshire, 5.9 percent, Vermont, 3.9 percent, and Maine, 3.7 percent, are much lower.
Immigrants living in Rhode Island paid $336.6 million in state and local taxes, as well as 549.9 in federal taxes, in 2014. They represented $2.6 billion in spending power, the analysis says. Foreign born workers account for 50.2 percent of Rhode Island’s software developers and 49.2 percent of the state’s cooks and chefs, they do 44.8 percent of the landscaping and 59 percent of services to buildings and dwellings. 27,504 immigrants in Rhode Island are homeowners.
Of course, the average immigrant does tend to be poorer than the average native-born American. Thus immigrants utilize more social service, according to a national study by the Center for Immigration Studies, an anti-immigrant group with strong nativist leanings. “An estimated 49 percent of households headed by legal immigrants used one or more welfare programs in 2012, compared to 30 percent of households headed by natives,” it found. Families headed by a legal immigrant were more likely to utilize cash programs – 14 percent compared to 10 percent; food programs – 36 percent to 22 percent; and Medicaid – 39 percent to 22 percent.
There are 66,987 immigrants eligible to vote in Rhode Island and 42,128 registered to vote, or 63 percent.
Of the 137,432 immigrants in Rhode Island, 26,666 are undocumented. About 19 percent of Rhode Island’s immigrant population about 2 percent of the state’s total population is undocumented, according to the data in the New American Economy analysis. Undocumented immigrants in Rhode Island have $321.5 million in spending power.