|Wisconsin Can Strengthen Its Economy and Communities with
Four Inclusive Policies
3. Stronger labor law enforcement will ensure that all workers,
regardless of immigration status, are paid what they earn and
will help level the playing field for businesses and workers.
Despite the economic costs of lost wages and tax revenues,
Wisconsin has fewer than ten designated investigators to
enforce the minimum wage.
4. Expanding health coverage to all children, regardless of
immigration status, can improve long-term health outcomes,
high school and college completion, and long-term economic
benefits for the child and for states and local communities.
Only six states and D.C. offer health care coverage to all
In his 2019-21 budget, Governor Evers proposed removing
barriers to driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, as
well as removing the ban on in-state tuition rates for youth
who grow up in Wisconsin and are undocumented. Both
provisions were removed by the Legislature.
Wisconsinites who are undocumented make sizable
contributions to our economy and to our state finances, as
well as to their local communities. Wisconsin’s 86,000
immigrants who are undocumented pay $72 million annually
in state and local taxes, for instance. And Wisconsin
households headed by a person who is undocumented pay a
larger share of their income in state and local taxes (7.5
percent) than the top one percent of Wisconsin households
From Kids Forward
Madison, WI - Wisconsin policymakers can take four key steps to better integrate immigrants, including immigrants who
are undocumented, into the economy and foster community well-being, according to a new report from the Center on
Budget and Policy Priorities. Giving all residents access to economic opportunity would enable them to earn higher
wages, spend more at businesses, and contribute more in taxes that are used to fund schools and other investments that
are critical to a strong economy, the report finds. Harsh anti-immigrant policies, in contrast, harm workers and their
children and likely weaken the economy.
“Immigrants, both documented and undocumented, come to Wisconsin in search of opportunity for themselves and their
families. In return, they benefit our communities, through cultural and economic vibrancy, entrepreneurship, and an
expanded workforce for some of the state’s most critical industries. Wisconsin lawmakers should implement policies that
promote prosperity for immigrants who are undocumented, their families, and the communities that welcome them,”
explained Kids Forward CEO Ken Taylor.
Wisconsin is one of only 21 states that have not enacted any of the four policies recommended in the report:
1. Driver’s licenses for immigrants who are undocumented can help immigrants who are undocumented get better jobs,
make roads safer, and modestly reduce insurance premiums. Fourteen states and D.C. allow immigrants to get driver’s
licenses regardless of their status.
2. In-state tuition and state financial aid for resident college students who are undocumented will boost the skills and
wages of the state workforce. Twenty-one states and D.C. have adopted “tuition equity” laws and 12 of these states plus
DC offer state financial aid to resident students who are undocumented.