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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Illegal Immigrants Pay Taxes?

I read this article, and the numbers just don't add up. Probably because the "experts" are just guessing at so many things that they really can't honestly give a real number. But they're saying it's "a lot" and a "significant portion" of illegal immigrants are reportedly paying taxes.

I figured that April 15th would mean scouring the web for a news article to rant about that related to Tax Day - luckily I found one that coincides with my disapproval of all things illegal immigrant.

According to this article, illegal immigrants paid taxes in the amount of $9 billion for 2005.

Now let's explain the flawed logic that comes up with that summarization:

(1) While most of us legal citizens work at jobs that tend to withhold taxes which means a possible refund if you're still in a lower tax bracket, most illegal immigrants are illegally hired as independant contractors which means that they have no taxes withheld and owe money come April.

(2) Most illegal immigrants fear filing taxes if they have pending returns, so they don't file. Some illegal immigrants who don't have refunds (see (1)) apparently feel guilty enough to try and file. Even though they have no social security number, they can still apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number from the IRS with no questions asked and they get grouped in the ITIN category like all other foreigners with no Social Security numbers, legal or not.

(3) Another way that the IRS is guessing at illegal immigrant tax reporting is 9 million W-2 forms that have mismatched names and Social Security numbers. So they're able to attempt an estimation from that information based on guessing the percentage of identity theft and fraud is being committed by illegal immigrants which includes getting paychecks under fake names and Social Security numbers, since $40 billion of the $53 billion reported this way in 2004 had taxes withheld (1).

Are you starting to see how any numbers they come up with just aren't able to be verified or even possible to estimate?

So the article claims that illegal immigrants are paying $9 billion of tax money going into Social Security which they'll never see again because they're here illegally and therefore can't receive Social Security (except by using fake names and/or identity theft). Of course, that's the $9 billion that happens to be a result of (3), which we've already established is impossible to tell how much of that identity theft and other errored reporting is due to illegal immigrants.

Spokesman Mark Hinkle said Social Security does not know how much of the $9 billion can be attributed to illegal immigrants. The number is certainly not 100 percent, but a significant portion probably comes from taxes paid by illegal immigrants.

Notice the words 'not 100 percent' combined with 'significant portion' and 'probably'.

So that's the entire basis of why they felt the need to make this statement:

Ford said a majority of economists agree that illegal immigrants are a net benefit for the U.S. economy.

I do not believe for one minute that the not-100-percent amount of $9 billion is anywhere NEAR the difference between the amount of money used in hospitals and schools and other services that tax money pays for which illegal immigrants reap the benefits of and the amount actually being accumulated in tax money as a result of illegal immigrants. What's worse is that most of this money coming in from taxes is at the federal level, while most of the tax-funded resources being used by illegal immigrants is paid by STATE tax money. So it's the states that suffer while the federal government reaps the meager rewards.

The last thing that pissed me off about this article was the ever-present "let's interview an illegal immigrant and give detailed information rather than arrest this criminal or call the police" section:

Among those she has assisted is Eric Jimenez, a self-employed handyman who has worked in Nashville for several years.

He feels obliged to pay taxes — even though, as Pantoja said, "nothing would happen" to him if he did not.

"I have an idea, a mentality, that to be a good citizen you have to pay taxes," he said. "Also, I'm conscious of the fact that the money we pay in taxes supports the schools and all the public services."

Why is Eric Jimenez not on a deportation vehicle headed back to Latin America?

To be a good citizen, you have to obey the laws - like legally entering the country in order to use those public services! While I applaud his sentimentality and marvel at his grasp of the English language that is so rare to find among the illegal immigration population - I still must deplore the fact that he is a criminal who is here illegally and apparently getting hired and able to rent a place to live and brazen enough to get interviewed and have his name printed in newspapers.


All in all, it's a horrible article that attempts to reason with people to accept illegal immigration by creating made-up numbers about how they possibly defy stereotypes and actually pay SOME taxes. But we know the truth.


(The not-100-percent correct article)

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