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Report: Illegal Immigrants Make 'Significant' Contributions to Kentucky Economy

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As President Trump’s administration ramps up immigration enforcement across the nation, a new report finds that illegal immigrants in Kentucky 'contribute significantly' to the state and local economies. 

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy based in Washington, D.C., says undocumented immigrants pay more than $36 million a year in Kentucky income, property, sales, and excise taxes.

Anna Baumann is a research and policy associate at the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.  She says the contributions of illegal immigrants shouldn't be overlooked.

"They actually get to take out less from those systems that they're paying into because they're ineligible for things like Social Security, food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, and some of our tax credits," explains Baumann.

On the other hand, some conservative groups, including The Heritage Foundation, say Kentucky spends far more on illegal immigrants than what they contribute to the economy. 

The state has an estimated 45,000 undocumented immigrants and more than half are from Mexico.

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Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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