by Moses Apsan, Esq.
Tax time is around the corner and what’s happening with the illegal aliens? Are they paying their fair share or just sucking benefits from the system? In a recent Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly and former CNN host Lou Dobbs made the point that illegal immigrants "dodge taxes," with O'Reilly expressing his belief that the idea that they pay taxes is "crap." The effect of this constant bombardment of false information has confused a good portion of the public. According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, a third of all Americans stating that the biggest worry about illegal immigrants [is] that they “used more public services than they pay for in taxes.” Anti-immigrant proponents, such a Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Dobbs and the “patriot” Mark Levin have done an excellent job confusing the public; making them believe that illegal immigration has a negative economic impact. When in fact, the truth, which is the exact opposite and all of them know it; yet they continue to obfuscate the truth and misdirect the public. Consider this: a surprising (two-thirds of illegal immigrants pay Social Security, Medicare and personal income taxes.)
According to the Congressional Budget Office and the Social Security Administration, undocumented immigrants pay many different types of taxes, including sales, property, and social security taxes individual income,
Even the most ignorant anti-immigrant radio or TV personality knows that the 1996 welfare reform bill disqualified illegal immigrants from nearly all means-tested government programs including housing, Medicaid and Medicare-funded hospitalization assistance and even food stamps, The only services that illegal immigrants can still get is K-12 education and emergency medical care.
Brought you by Vejatv.com
The influx in payment of taxes began in earnest in 1996, when the IRS created nine-digit individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs), It was designed to enable the IRS to track the tax returns of those who are ineligible for a Social Security number. It is believed that most taxpayers who use ITINs are illegal immigrants although a small portion of legal residents also has them.
Officially, the Social Security Administration estimates that about seventy five percent (75%) of illegal workers contribute to the overall solvency of Social Security and Medicare by paying taxes.
In 2005 the agency estimates that on about $75 billion in wages from people who filed W2 forms with incorrect or mismatched data, about $9 billion in taxes was paid.
This amount would include illegal immigrants using fake names and Social Security numbers. Although the influence on Social Security is considerable because most of the money received is never claimed by the illegal immigrant who pays into the system. Instead of the money returning to the rightful owner, it is used to cover the deficit in retirement checks payable to legal workers.
A study conducted by the Social Security Administration from census and Immigration and Customs Enforcement data in 2007 enabled them to project the effects of higher and lower immigration patterns.
They concluded that with high immigration the SSA's combined trust fund would be exhausted in 2043 and if the immigration numbers were half the amount, the fund would run out four years earlier.
At a Congressional hearing in 2006 then IRS Commission Mark Everson told Congress "many illegal aliens, utilizing ITINs, have been reporting tax liability to the tune of almost $50 billion from 1996 to 2003."
Even with hard numbers and facts verified by our own government anti-immigrant proponents continue to mislead the public.
True, the contributions of illegal immigrants remain contentious. There are those that argue that illegal aliens make no contribution because they are parasites to governmental programs; they do not pay anywhere near the amount they take to make up for it. Another group argues that they pay more than they should because they will not be eligible for the Social Security they are paying for until their immigration status is resolved, if ever. Dr. William F. Ford a professor at Middle Tennessee State University and an expert on immigration and taxes assesses that (illegal immigrants contribute $428 billion dollars to the nation’s $13.6 trillion gross domestic product in 2006.) “If anything we need more immigrants coming into the country, not less, especially with the baby boomers retiring,” said Ford in an Associated Press article
The constantly increasing number of taxpayers parallels the national immigration reform debate.
Francine J. Lipman, a Professor of Law at Chapman University School of Law, in the Spring 2006 Harvard Latino Law Review wrote an article "Taxing Undocumented Immigrants: Separate, Unequal and Without Representation," In it she wrote:
"[U]ndocumenteds actually contribute more to public coffers in taxes than they cost in social services...
[E]ach year undocumented immigrants add billions of dollars in sales, excise, property, income and payroll taxes, including Social Security, Medicare and unemployment taxes, to federal, state and local coffers. Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants go out of their way to file annual federal and state income tax returns.
Yet undocumented immigrants are barred from almost all government benefits...Generally, the only benefits federally required for undocumented immigrants are emergency medical care, subject to financial and category eligibility, and elementary and secondary public education. Many undocumented immigrants will not even access these few critical government services because of their ever-present fear of government officials and deportation.
Undocumented immigrants living in the United States are subject to the same income tax laws as documented immigrants and U.S. citizens. However, because of their status most unauthorized workers pay a higher effective tax rate than similarly situated documented or U.S. citizens. Yet, these workers and their families use fewer government services than similarly situated documented immigrants or U.S. citizens...As a result, undocumented immigrants provide a fiscal windfall and may be the most fiscally beneficial of all immigrants."
In general, though, illegal immigrants get fewer tax breaks. They cannot claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, which can be $4,700 for a family of four earning less than $12,000.
It is not just federal taxes that illegal immigrants pay, All illegal immigrants pay state sales taxes, contributing to the upkeep of public facilities such as roads, police and fire departments, and many pay property taxes that contribute toward the schooling of their children. The non-partisan National Research Council found that they contribute on average $80,000 more to federal treasury than they consume.
One can only imagine, the far-reaching positive effect to our country’s economy the passage of an immigration reform law would have. The 11 million illegal immigrants would become a fully contributing part of American society and the economy would blossom; just what the founders of our constitution envisioned in the first place.