Undocumented immigrants pay federal taxes.
Undocumented immigrants pay state taxes.
Undocumented immigrants pay local taxes.
Undocumented immigrants pay sales taxes.
To know the above information is to accept boring truths – that people who live among us in the 13th Congressional District and pick our fruit, staff our tourism industry, prepare our food, maintain our yards, and whose labor we rely on in so many ways , contribute to our society. And like generations of huddled masses before them, these taxpayers work hard and nurture families, supporting and sustaining America, all while denied a path to legal residency and its benefits.
According to The American Immigration Council, “Undocumented immigrants in Pennsylvania paid an estimated $418.1 million in federal taxes and $238.3 million in state and local taxes in 2018. Pennsylvania DACA recipients and DACA-eligible individuals paid an estimated $17.4 million in state and local taxes in 2018.”
That’s right, undocumented immigrants in Pennsylvania paid hundreds of millions of dollars in federal and state taxes in 2018 alone. Since then, estimates of taxes paid by undocumented immigrants have only grown larger, but to swallow the dehumanizing and Republican lie of “Illegals don’t pay taxes” is to be ignorant of this truth. In fact, Republican leadership has gone further to dupe their constituency by peddling the falsehood that US citizens must hand over their hard-earned money to pay for a wall that will keep “the illegals” out, when in recent years the largest group of undocumented laborers have simply overstayed their legal visas. That thousands of Americans have handily been defrauded of millions of dollars for “Build the Wall” grifts is no coincidence. People who believe hateful lies about immigrants are easily suckered into schemes that empty their pockets.
Meanwhile, researchers at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimated that if undocumented immigrants had been granted legal status, they might have paid $51 million more in Pennsylvania state and local taxes in 2017 alone. In other words, a potential solution to our undocumented immigrant “problem” is to providethem a realistic route to achieve legal status. But you won’t hear this from any Republican who wants to trick Americans into filling the coffers of Trump’s cronies, and that includes Trumpian sycophant John Joyce.
While no one person or organization has the perfect answer to immigration reform, we must start with the truth to move toward a solution. Who knows? We might be richer for it.