Does Hispanic Consumer, Taxpayer Strength Help Immigration Reform?

Dec 11, 2014

Credit AP Photo / Natacha Pisarenko

Immigration reform opponents frequently argue that undocumented immigrants are a drain on our economy and government services. But a new study hopes to refute that idea – and show how strong a consumer and taxpaying force Hispanics are.

Partnership for a New American Economy is a group of government and business leaders who support immigration reform. In Miami on Thursday it reported that the annual purchasing power of Hispanics – who are the majority of undocumented immigrants – now tops $600 billion. In Florida it’s $65 billion – or one of every six spendable dollars.

Arun Sharma is a marketing professor at the University of Miami. He says even the big screen is benefiting: “Hispanic customers are approximately 15 percent of the population, but they consume approximately 25 percent of the movie tickets.”

The report says Hispanics also pay $190 billion in taxes – and they pay more than they get from programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Says Rudy Fernandez, a special assistant to former President George W. Bush, “The growing Hispanic community [is] key to the sustainability of those programs.”

Opponents of reform insist undocumented immigrants are still a burden on services like public education.