Undocumented Immigrants and Taxes

Unlike Donald Trump, the first American President in decades who refused to release his tax returns, an undocumented immigrant showed her tax forms and proved she paid $300 into a system that refuses to acknowledge her or give her any benefits in return.

Undocumented immigrants not paying taxes has been a right wing lie for centuries, yet proof of the contrary has never seemed to slow down the haters in the least.

Comments on her disclosure are proving once again that facts don’t seem to make anti-immigrant hate mongers change their tunes.

In fact, they seem to believe that if they shout their hate louder, then maybe they can drown out the facts and restore their faith in their all-American fantasy tale that immigrants are bad for America.

The fact that our nation’s entire history is one huge immigrant success story doesn’t seem to faze the ultra-conservatives much, and hundreds of years of their vociferous dribblings don’t give me any hope it will stop any time soon, either.

So, in the mean-time, Dreamers, keep up the good fight, and leave the bad fight to the haters, who, in the end, will be the losers, for fate ultimately validates the righteous.

Immigrants are an economic Win for the US

The Huffington Post recently published an article on the economics of immigration by Dr Fariborz Ghadar. This article sited many different publications that show the economic benefit to the United States from immigration is a definite positive, despite the subterfuge offered up by the GOP.

“Recent labor statistics reveal that “on average, immigrants raise the overall standard of living of American workers by boosting wages and lowering prices.”

They also take away less jobs from worthy Americans than they have been accused of.

A special report by the Immigration Policy Center concluded that

“Although unemployed native workers who lack a high‐school diploma would seem to be in tight competition for jobs with recent immigrants who have a similar level of education, an analysis of differences between these two groups in terms of where they live, their job experience, and their age shows that they are far from being substitutes for one another.” The characteristics of immigrant and native workers vary substantially; thus, they are rarely interchangeable as the myth would lead us to believe.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-fariborz-ghadar

US Immigration Reform Plan A

US Immigration Plan A

Currently we are playing a waiting game with a group of congressmen who are referred to as the “Gang of Eight.” They have already missed President Obama’s immigration reform bill deadline, so it’s anybody’s guess as to when to expect their proposed version of the bill. The Democrats want to tell America they are close to a consensus on the bill–but, as usual, the Republicans are putting the brakes on that happy announcement.   Did we really expect congress to produce an immigration bill on time, considering they led us into a government shutdown?   I have come to the realization that the immigration reform bill–or anything else that’s important to America–cannot be left up to congress to take care of. The whole reason we are in such a state of distress right now is the direct result of the dysfunctional attitudes congress has been displaying for decades. If they were capable of creating and passing competent and workable immigration legislation by now, they would have, and should have–many years ago. It’s time for us to step up to the plate and do for them what they are failing to do for us. We need to tell them what we want, or risk having them put together a luke-warm bill, crippled by the ultra-conservatives who’d really prefer there not be a new immigration law at all. For too long, the Republicans have had an “angry father” view of our immigration system, taking out their anger on the “disobedient children.” Unfortunately, this ignores their responsibility in creating and maintaining an immigration structure that promotes this type of behavior. They are really behaving more like a “deadbeat dad,” skipping out on their responsibilities and making the family fend for itself. The situation we’re in right now is the direct result of them not taking care of their responsibility of ensuring America has laws and systems to give it’s citizens what they need. Companies need access to a rich pool of labor to remain competitive, and US citizens want to enjoy a lifestyle that is among the richest in the world. Our “legislators” have been effectively absent for decades and we have been left to fend for ourselves. We need to force congress to get off their duffs and get the job done, or we should elect someone else who will. What we need is a nurturing parent attitude towards this situation, much like the “single mother” our deadbeat dad created. This type of attitude would say, “okay, me and the kids have been kicked to the curb, what do I need to do to get back to having a normal American life for me and the kids?” for US immigration reform, this would mean: how can we get the labor we need by attracting and retaining the best people from around the world?  This is why America, out of all the countries of the world, has achieved world leadership in just a few hundred years. Even before we were a country, people came here to seek their fortunes. They came here, worked hard, and helped shape this country into what it is today: the land of opportunity. I heard on the radio the other day, a conservative politician who claimed America got to where it is today because of it’s “Christian ethics.” I listened to that, and while it sounded good, it also sounded hollow. Name a European country that doesn’t use Christian ethics? Why didn’t they become the leaders of the free world? Because they weren’t as receptive to immigrants as we always have been. Our immigrants saw the opportunities we had to offer them and made something of themselves, and in the process, made us great as a nation. Other countries were working overtime trying to limit the amounts of immigrants they “granted access” to. We were the country of opportunity. We prospered because of it. Going back to the “deadbeat dad” model, conservatives would like to continue punishing the very people who are doing the best they can, given the limitations they are presented with. Many American families have immigrant members, so that means punishing a great many Americans too. Many of us are children and grandchildren of immigrants. Deporting our fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, because we were doing the best we could in their absence of leadership, is inexcusable.  If a missing parent were to suddenly show up again after a long absence, would we want to be punished and lectured by them for not doing things the way they think they should be done? On top of all this faulty logic rests this fact: immigrants are not the cause of our disfunction.  It is our laws that are inadequate for our needs. They cannot fix our problem. We are the only ones who can change our system and make it manageable for everyone to succeed. Why put the onus on dealing with our immigration problem solely at their feet? And when we punish them, we punish millions Americans too. This is not an immigrant problem. This is an American legislation problem. We have let our laws become so out of date that people have found other ways to make their lives more manageable.   Have you ever been stopped at a light that was stuck on red? You don’t sit and wait for a repairman to fix it. You wait a reasonable amount of time to ensure it’s just not “slow,” then you procede with caution and get on with your life. Should you receive a ticket for that? Pay a fine? Go to traffic school? Go to jail?   I have put forth five basic ingredients we need in order to protect our country, prop up our economy, and cultivate and protect the wealth of immigrants that want so desperately to receive a piece of the American dream. For any immigration plan to work, it needs to satisfy some basic requirements. I began with a much larger list of pie in the sky things I thought would be great to put into a new immigration bill. Then I began discarding anything that did not have a major negative impact on the plan after being removed. If the plan didn’t suffer after removing an idea, that idea didn’t need to remain in the plan. It may have been nice, but it wasn’t necessary. The remaining ingredients I have found to be necessary for the legislation to correct the problems, encourage participation, and not need immediate repair legislation. (We all know how long it could take to create that.)

The result is what I call, “Plan A.”

We need just five guiding principals for our future immigration legislation to have a profound and positive affect on our nation. Any future immigration bill we come up with needs to be:

  1. Inexpensive
  2. Easy
  3. Accurate
  4. Actionable
  5. Taxable

These are but guiding principals, and from here we can fill in the specifics with input from anyone else who feels that congress, if left alone, is bound to create a bigger mess than there already is right now.  If you think I missed an essential ingredient, or if you think some of the things I listed aren’t necessary, then says so in the comments.  I won’t be the only person reading them, looking for public opinion, either. Congress will need this in order to stand firm on items that are really necessary, when the conservative Republicans try to push back and cripple the bill, so if you could, email them a copy of this so we can be certain they have all seen it. There will be little excuse for crafting a crummy bill if they have at least seen this. I will be watching the threads too, and if it looks like some good ideas are gaining some momentum, I will include them and update the plan, so if this is important to you, subscribe to this blog so you can be kept abreast of any changes, and any of the other posts on this topic that are soon to follow.  I will need more than just great numbers to alter items in this plan–I’ll need better ideas. I don’t think just one person can come up with something so important all by themselves. This is something we should do together. Regarding comment trolls; if all you can do is complain, save it for your shrink. This plan is intended to get us to talk about how to craft a workable, functional immigration reform bill that will not need major restructuring immediately after it’s enacted, or worse, take us a step or two backwards in our evolution as a society. Let me briefly describe why these items are on this plan, and then in subsequent articles I’ll dive deeper into the particulars of each, so we can begin having an intelligent conversation and come to a consensus of what we actually need from Congress. As you’ll see below, this affects us all, so we need to make sure it affects us positively, not negatively.

Good for US

Good for THEM

Principals for good immigration reform:
X X Inexpensive
X X Easy
X Accurate
X X Actionable
X Taxable

As you can see by the above table, this list benefits the United States more than the immigrant, and so it should. No nation should feel it was placed on this planet to care for all the world’s people. If some people wish to come here and live, they should contribute more to our society than they take out, just like most of us do ourselves.

There is a saying amongst lawyers and negotiators, “a contract is only as strong as the person who is least willing to abide by it.”

If the new legislation were only about doing good things for one of us–the immigrant, or America–it would fail immediately. Why go through all this work if it will ultimately get us nothing?  Any new legislation must benefit the immigrant well in order to attract and retain great people, just as wage and benefits policies attract and retain good employees.

In brief:

Our new immigration policy should be inexpensive to ensure 100% participation. It should also be self-supporting. We shouldn’t have to shoulder much, if any, of the costs with setting up and maintaining this program.  There are a host of other places we could put our money to good use. Our immigration policy should also be easy to participate in, and easy to manage. The more complex the process–the more mistakes find their way into the product.  There should also be plenty of offices to process applicants so there is no 10-20-30 year backlog like the one that exists for many visas today. Accuracy will make this legislation reliable, and therefore highly actionable. This needs to be well architected so the data we receive from the immigrants identifies them one-hundred percent, and allows us to use this data to ensure the best of the immigrants are received, and the worst are returned, or never admitted in the first place. Our security rests on the reliability that if someone leaves the country, they cannot return under a different identity and get away with it. Actionable means we can do things with the data and information we obtain from our immigrants. We can ensure compliance and take decisive actions against persons not willing to abide by the simple and inexpensive rules they must follow in order to receive some of the keys to the kingdom we will offer them to do so. It will also protect the immigrant against people and organizations who wish to take advantage of them. Currently they are under-represented and suffer from many forms of abuse. If we protect the immigrants, they should be grateful, willing, and downright thankful to participate in this simple and highly affordable program. It will be to all our best interests for this to succeed. Taxable is a great way for this program to pay for itself. This should be above and beyond what citizens are required to pay. This money should be earmarked to be used solely for the set-up and maintenance of the immigration program, and any special services or programs they might require.   Some of the conservatives in the audience will notice there is no mention of border security in this bill. There are two very sound reasons for this:   1)   The border is more secure now than at any time in our history. More resources, money and manpower have been shifted to the border than during any other time in our history. As a result of our extensive efforts to stop people at the border, we are apprehending a record low level of  people not seen since 1971.  People crying about securing the border before working on any new immigration bill are really just stalling. No border in the history of the world has ever been 100% secure, and our border with Mexico has never been more secure than it is right now. 2)   When you focus on compliance and making it easy and financially accessible and ultimately highly beneficial for everyone to participate, the need for prevention will be greatly reduced. As compliance passes 80% the need for our current border forces will be reduced, and the remaining force’s day to day activities will shift to rounding up drug runners and criminals, as all those who have nothing to hide will rather do things the easy, inexpensive, legal way. Catching fewer people should be easier than trying to stem the tide of a million immigrants a year, so our border security should even increase, while we reduce our expenses and shift our resources where they will be needed most.   If we begin here, we can begin to create a program that is good for the both the US, and the immigrant, is weighted more towards benefiting us, can be easily (relatively speaking) setup and maintained, won’t cost us anything, and quite possibly help us monetize and protect a resource of income, spending, and taxes, as well as protect and nourish a great part of our communities and culture.  With the emerging markets producing vastly more competition around the world, we could use all the help we can get. Immigrants of all kinds are needed to keep us leading the world in engineering, innovation, economy, and quality of life.

Lastly,

The only thing I loathe more than censorship is hateful comments that contribute nothing to the conversation. The only comments that will be removed are the hateful, non-helpful ones, (trolls) and people who love to post the same comment over and over and over and over and over. . . Please remember, any jerk can complain, and most usually do, but only those who genuinely care about helping, will offer suggestions as to how to make something better. We need to hurry. Congress could surprise us and come up with something sooner than later. If that happens, the compromises that inevitably will find their way into the bill will likely cripple it, and hinder any future progress we might otherwise enjoy. So tell me, do you have confidence in our government to put forth a well thought out, truly beneficial and successful bill that will propel our country forward for years to come?   Join the conversation now, before we have to suffer through what congress manages to cobble together, for the next thirty years.

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Illegal immigrants won’t assimilate into our culture

Hate speech often shows up in the form of a supposedly logical argument. Sometimes, like the following, it is just plain racist.

 

illegal immigrants arriving in this country in large numbers won’t be unable to effectively assimilate into our society-  

There are many variants to this theme such as, “they make us conform to them instead of them conforming to us” and “why should we have to learn their language, they should have to learn english” and “if I went to their country they’d make me learn spanish” and on and on.

 

This is really code for- “So many foreigners will come here they will take over our country.”

This has been an ongoing theme in the United States for well over a hundred years and is a driving force in the argument against immigration. Although a majority of white’s do not subscribe to this belief, this is a purely white myth, used to stir up other white’s into taking action in order to keep this country a white ruled U.S.A. It’s called protectionism and the white people who use this phrase are trying to protect our nation from the threat of mongrelization that they feel will occur once the throngs of immigrants get here, breed and take over their country. Then it won’t be the good ol’ white United States of America any more. Paranoid much?

 

How to combat this-  Whenever you read or hear this, you will know the people communicating this are acting out of fear of people who are not like them. This is a wholly racist argument and talking rationally with these people is pointless. You can point out that this hasn’t happened throughout the entire history of the United States, even after several rounds of immigrant recruitment drives* in our past, but it won’t stop them from continuing to say or write it. The only good you can do when you confront someone like this is purely for the benefit of anyone else who hears it. Giving other listeners a more intelligent and rational point of view so they won’t be left with just that one misguided opinion is a worthy cause. It also counters the effect of not saying anything and making it appear that that phrase is unchallenged and therefore correct by default.

 

For more information see the report on assimilation of immigrants.

 

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/11/assimilation_tomorrow.html

 

* Immigrant recruitment in U.S. history

Americans from the industrializing Northeast pursued their recruitment policy even more vigorously after independence in 1776, seeking to lift European barriers to exit that were commonplace at that time. After independence, the new republic campaigned vigorously in the name of freedom to bring about an “exit revolution” throughout Europe.

 

From the 1830s on, railroad and shipping companies actively promoted emigration from northern Europe, and, in many cases, the multiplying US consulates functioned in effect as labor-recruiting and land-selling agencies, eventually reaching all the way to remote Norway. Simultaneously, American entrepreneurs enticed newcomers from across Western Europe by way of private missions.

 

These are just a couple of examples of the U.S. aggressively recruiting immigrants in our history.

 

Source: http://www.migrationinformation.org/Feature/display.cfm?ID=401

Illegal immigrants make us pay to educate their kids

Why should we pay to educate their kids- 

This really means: undocumented immigrants don’t deserve to have their children benefit from our educational system– they’re not good enough.

How to respond-

Would you rather a bunch of kids grow up next door to you, being really stupid and unemployable, whose only recourse would be to really live off the taxpayer or drive up the crime rate? If that doesn’t shut them up, do you need the aggravation of continuing this argument? Besides, although schools do not collect immigration data it is noted that the overwhelming majority of children in K-12 are American Citizens due largely to the fact that immigrants don’t often bring families across the border due to the hazards and dangers of the process. Most children of undocumented immigrants are born here in the United States and are therefore U.S. Citizens. They have every right to be educated here just like every other U.S. Citizen.

Illegal immigrants make us teach spanish in our schools

They make us teach spanish in our schools- 

What this means is they really don’t know what they are talking about. This is more ignorance than hate, although hateful people use this as an argument to try to add to the credibility of their position. How this all came about is they either overheard it from a friend or walked by a classroom and heard the teacher teaching in Spanish.

How to respond-

Quite frankly I too was a little miffed when I walked past my son’s classroom and heard the teacher of another class speaking spanish. It wasn’t until much later that I learned they only do that for a few years, while they teach them english. If you’ve ever taken a foreign language you know they ALWAYS use your language as a basis for communication. If you walked into a french class and the teacher refused to speak english, you would learn french much more slowly, especially when you got tired and frustrated at not understanding very much of what was going on and were getting poor grades because of it. They aren’t teaching spanish as much as using spanish to teach them english.

They may counter with the argument, “We shouldn’t have to spend money to hire bi-lingual teachers to teach them english.”

Answer: A bi-lingual teacher costs the same as an english only speaking teacher, but now you are helping an immigrant learn english, which is really what you want in the first place– less spanish speaking people in the United States.

If they won’t stop there, then move along. You just shot down one of their favorite arguments and now they’re going to hit you with all the other ones until your ears bleed.

Illegal Immigrants are a burden on our medical system

They get are a burden on our Medical System- 

What this means is immigrants are so poor they can’t afford medical coverage through their employer, so they just go to the hospital, and skip out on the bill.

How to respond- 

Millions of  Americans live below the poverty level too, and they make up the vast majority of people who can’t pay their medical bills. Should they be denied medical treatment because they are too poor as well, or are we just singling out the few undocumented immigrants? Also, why pick on the minority population of people who are doing something you don’t approve of? Because it’s really not about the medical system blight. It’s about race.

 

This is a common argument used by people who don’t like Latino’s.

What they really mean is immigrants are so poor they can’t afford medical coverage through their employer, so they just go to the hospital and skip out on the bill.

 

<strong>How to respond- </strong>

 

Millions of  Americans live below the poverty level too, and they make up the vast majority of people who can’t pay their medical bills. Should they be denied medical treatment because they are too poor as well, or are we just singling out the few undocumented immigrants?

 

If you are really concerned with picking up the tab for someone’s medical expenses, why pick on the smaller group of people who are doing it? Because it’s really not about picking up the tab for medical expenses. It’s about race.

 

If this doesn’t stop them cold, nothing will. You can show them the infographic below, taken from a study done by Kaiser Permanente– not any political or otherwise biased organization– but that won’t help. If someone insists on taking this stand, they just don’t like Latino’s.

<a href=”http://southoftheborderbook.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/image2.gif“><img src=”http://southoftheborderbook.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/image2.gif” alt=”” title=”Uninsured in America” width=”500″ height=”375″ /></a> The real picture of our Medical System

 

Illegal Aliens come here to sponge off of us taxpayers

They come here to sponge off of us taxpayers-  

You don’t have to listen very closely to hear the hate in that statement. What they’re really saying is undocumented immigrants are all a bunch of lazy people that do nothing but live off of our social services.

How to respond-

I always tell people who try to use this argument that I haven’t met any immigrant who came here to collect Social Security or Welfare, or Medicare, or Unemployment . . . and not just because they aren’t even eligible for these programs.  Immigrants come here on their own dime, with hardly more than the clothes on their backs, to find work and earn a better life than they could at home. (Just like our immigrant ancestors did.)

Although this is often blatant hate, and usually argued by a devout Latino hater, it is still possible they just overheard a friend or relative say this, or saw some of the anit-immigration website or propaganda and fell for it. When someone you know and trust says something, or if you see it in print, you tend to believe it.

Try not to get too upset. Let them know that if someone doesn’t have a social security number, they are not eligible for any of those services. Some states may allow for a modicum of medical services or food stamps be afforded to people living below the poverty level, but this is extremely minimal and not something you would risk your life to get here for.

If your first few attempts to be logical fail, move along. Don’t let them drag you down into their depressing and angry lifestyle.

Illegal Immigrants don’t pay taxes

They don’t pay taxes- 

What they’re really saying is they don’t like latinos, and this is the best argument they can come up with. They heard someone say it, or read it somewhere and it validates their anti-latino mindset, so they never bothered to check the actual facts.

How to respond- 

Over 75% of undocumented immigrants pay taxes, and most of that is money they can not benefit from. They cannot collect unemployment, or social security, and many of them cannot qualify to file a tax return and according to Standard and Poors

“Each year, for example, the U.S. Social Security Administration maintains roughly $6 billion to $7 billion of Social Security contributions in an “earnings suspense file” — an account for W-2 tax forms that cannot be matched to the correct Social Security number. The vast majority of these numbers are attributable to undocumented workers who will never claim their benefits.” 4

If this fact from a completely unbiased organization who got their facts from the United States Government, then they are hopelessly lost in the anti-Latino rhetoric and continuing the conversation with logic and real statistics is worse than futile; it could actually make you both angry and heated, which neither of you really needs anyway. Give it up. Take your educated and unbiased mentality to a safer,  more nurturing environment. Life is too short to argue with people who won’t listen to facts or reason.

 

http://www.businessweek.com/investor/content/apr2006/pi20060407_072803.htm