Undocumented immigrants are paying their taxes today, too

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Undocumented immigrants have been a topic of controversy in America for decades. There are those who believe they don’t contribute to the economy and are a burden on the taxpayers. However, this belief has been proven to be a misleading myth. Most undocumented immigrants, including those who have become part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, pay taxes just like any other American. In fact, their contribution to the economy is worth billions of dollars.

One of the most significant ways undocumented immigrants contribute to the economy is through their income and payroll taxes. They often use fake Social Security numbers, which they obtain through illegal means and use to work and earn wages. Employers are required to withhold these taxes from their paychecks and send to the IRS. According to a report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, undocumented immigrants paid over $11.7 billion in taxes in 2017.

It is important to note that not all undocumented immigrants use fake Social Security numbers to work. Some of them have Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) which the IRS issues to non-citizens who don’t have a Social Security number but pay taxes. In 2015, more than 4.4 million people filed taxes using ITINs, contributing over$23.6 billion to the economy. This figure includes both documented and undocumented immigrants.

Undocumented immigrants also contribute to the local economy through sales and property taxes. They buy goods and services like any other Americans and pay sales taxes on those purchases. They also pay property taxes indirectly, as landlords often pass on the cost of property taxes to tenants through their rent.

The misconception that undocumented immigrants are a burden on taxpayers has been debunked by numerous studies. For example, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), often criticized by pro-immigration advocates for its anti-immigrant stance, found that undocumented immigrants cost the federal government less in social services than native-born and legal immigrants do. The study was conducted in 2016 and concluded that their contribution to the economy outstripped any cost to the government.

Moreover, undocumented immigrants contribute to rural economies in several states where agriculture is a dominant industry. They work as farm laborers and are the backbone of some industries like the dairy industry. According to a report in Forbes magazine, the dairy industry in California, which is the largest producer of milk in the country, is almost entirely dependent on undocumented labor. The report states that if the state were to lose its undocumented workforce, it could lead to a 73% reduction in milk production and a $11 billion decline in the economy.

Despite their contributions to the economy, undocumented immigrants still live with the fear of deportation. DACA recipients are no exception to the threat that the current administration poses. In September 2017, the Trump administration announced its decision to end the DACA program, which would have put nearly 700,000 young people at risk of deportation. However, federal courts have temporarily blocked the administration from ending the program, giving hope to these young immigrants.

To conclude, undocumented immigrants are an integral part of the American economy, and their contributions are substantial. They pay billions of dollars in taxes, contribute to local economies, and are essential to certain industries. It is comforting to know that their tax dollars are paying for social programs and benefits that many Americans enjoy. It is also necessary to note that their contributions do not justify a pathway to citizenship or their right to vote. Nonetheless, we must recognize the value they add to our society and treat them with respect, compassion, and dignity.