FAQs about the Immigrant Community In Westchester County
Westchester County is a diverse and vibrant community. Approximately 25% of the population is foreign born. This includes people born in countries around the world, but the largest portion (55%) come from Latin America. In addition to a large population of new immigrants, Westchester is home to an ethnically and racially diverse population. 25.9% of the county population is Hispanic or Latino, 16.7% is African American, and 6.6% is Asian.
Q: How many of the immigrants in Westchester are undocumented?
A: The Migration Policy Institute estimates that 54,000 people living in Westchester County are undocumented. This is approximately 5% of the county’s total population of 1 million people.
Q: Are children of undocumented immigrants considered US citizens? Why?
A: Yes, any child born in the United States is a US citizen. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that there are 17,000 undocumented parents in Westchester currently living with at least one child who is a US citizen.
Q: Why do immigrants settle here in Westchester County instead of the city?
A: In recent years, more employment opportunities for new immigrants have become available in the suburbs. These jobs include low-wage domestic work in supporting dual-income families, landscaping, construction, restaurant work, and other service jobs.
Q: If immigrants are undocumented, do they pay taxes?
A: The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) released a study showing that undocumented immigrants across the US paid an estimated $11.74 billion in state and local taxes each year. Like anyone who purchases goods and services, immigrants pay sales taxes. Immigrants also pay property taxes directly if they own homes or indirectly if they rent. The ITEP report also states that “the best evidence suggests that at least 50 percent of undocumented immigrant households currently file income tax returns using Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITINs), and many who do not file income tax returns still have taxes deducted from their paychecks.” In New York State, it is estimated that undocumented immigrants contribute $1.4 billion in state and local taxes annually. Finally, the Social Security Administration estimates that undocumented immigrants contribute about $12 billion each year to the cash flow of the program without receiving benefits in return because of their status.