“They don’t pay taxes!” “Our current immigration system costs America’s taxpayers many billions of dollars a year.” “They don’t contribute to our economy!” Those are a few examples of misconceptions some Americans, including our President, have expressed towards the undocumented immigrant community in the United States.
Opinions are evidently not facts and if statistics won’t convince others that those myths are inaccurate, then I will. I am an undocumented student that works legally in the U.S. under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and pay my taxes. From the sweet age of seventeen I have been paying federal and state taxes. Social security and Medicare are indeed deducted from my checks and I do not qualify for any of their benefits. I also do not qualify for any federal grants or scholarships but luckily do qualify for in-state tuition due to the Maryland Dream Act.
The Vox’s article “Undocumented immigrants pay taxes too. Here’s how they do it” by Alexia Fernández Campbell is another example of an undocumented immigrant filing their taxes. Unlike Maria ,the person interviewed, I work with a work permit that comes with a Social Security number while she uses an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Maria and I are part of the estimated 6 million (out of 12 million) undocumented immigrants predicted of filing taxes every year.
The article mentioned that in 2013 a study determined that the portion that undocumented tax payers contributed to the Social Security Administration was about $13 Billion in one single year. That is $13 billion that millions, like myself, will probably never see again if we retire in the U.S. Despite those facts, I am okay with paying my debt to society but I am not okay with the tainted lies spread about people like myself.
Belen Sisa is a student at Arizona State University who got tired of the repeated misconceptions, and decided to take matters into her own hands. She decided to post a picture of herself holding her 1040 tax form to demonstrate that she, like many other immigrants, pays her taxes. In her caption she even mentioned paying the state of Arizona a total of $300 after filing her taxes.
These are just a few examples of undocumented immigrants who file taxes every year despite their legal status is this country. Unfortunately it is predicted that not all 12 million immigrants pay their dues but that shouldn’t make room for negative criticism for those that do. The portion that does contribute to this society, do so in the hopes of one day being fully integrated into American society as citizens. It is those hard workers and dreamers that will change the mindsets of people like our President.
Canadian and American immigration started off as similar, with both excluding non-white immigrants and only welcoming immigrants from Western European countries. But since then, these countries’ immigration laws have become opposites. Canada now has a reputation as a welcoming country to immigrants. But in the United States, immigration has become a more dividing issue. Canada prefers immigrants who are going to help grow the countries economy, while the United States gives more green cards to immigrants who have relatives in the States. The economist published an article by E.G. Austin where he talked about The United Sates v Canada and why they have differing views on immigration.
Why the different views on Immigration?
Unlike the United States, only a third of Canadians believe immigration is more of a problem than an opportunity. Canadians are rather concerned about “brain waste,” they want to ensure that high-skilled immigrants who can offer something to their country are welcome. They believe that immigrants actually create jobs and not steal them from natives. Immigrants are also net contributors, which is good for the economy. They also see multiculturalism as an important factor of national identity. Another reason that allows Canada to be so welcoming is that they need population growth because it has such a small population compared to the US. And why not fill your country with high-skilled members of society?
How do they choose these skilled immigrants?
Canada launched a program called ‘Express Entry,’ a tool that makes it easier for potential immigrants to acquire permanent residency. This type of entry is available to high-skilled workers and international students. Prospective immigrants have to fill out an online profile with their personal information, and government workers peruse their profiles and determine who is eligible. To be eligible you must have prior job experience—and a job offer to enter the country, and for students, you must have graduated 12 months prior, you must have experience in speaking English and/or French, and proof of funds showing you have enough money to support yourself and your family upon arrival. (www.cic.gc.ca)
I do agree with a lot of the things the Austin brought up in the article. You never hear someone in the United Sates advocate for immigration on the basis of that it adds to the social construct of the country. The United States should be more open to high-skilled immigrants; they are good for the economy. Although there are some factors that make it difficult for States to change up their immigration laws, it is not impossible. Take some notes, America.
Being an Immigrant myself, gives me an inside look at the troublesome situations immigrants are apart of. My parents brought our family to the US in order to give my sister and I a better future. My sister was 14 and I was 7, we didn’t have a say in the matter, so we were forced to be aliens in an unknown country. Because I was so young, and didn’t remember much about the country i was born in, I started adapting to the one I was in, and eventually loved and carfor it like it was my own. But in reality I was still an alien to it, Thanks to the Dream Act, which is a law that allows undocumented students to qualify for in–state tuition and be able to attend a two-year community college or a four- year university in the United States, I was able to continue my studies and become someone great. Also thanks to DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which allows immigrants to obtain a work permit, a social security and some of the benefits a citizen would have (this permit can be revoked at any time), I was able to be outgoing and start working in different places and I was also able to obtain my drivers license. These laws came into play in 2012, and changed so many people’s life’s, including my own. I was able to graduate high school, knowing that I could get in any college/university I wanted, and had no legal issue to deal with. My sister sand I able to acquire a greater education and somewhat have opportunities that US citizens obatianed. My sister and i both attend Maryland. I’m working on my Bachelors and she is working on her Masters. These laws gave immigrants a sense of hope. Because as we all might know, a lot of parents bring their families here, in hopes of giving them a chance to obtain success. They leave everything behind. Their culture, their assets, a lot of their family etc. They sacrifice all those things, just to be able to offer their family something better. Thanks to Obama. people were able to see light in such dark time. So many people marched and fought for this, and once it finally happened,
people cried of joy. It was honestly a huge milestone for immigrants in this country. That is why, now having Trump as our president and hearing all his threats to take away all of what the US has being able to do for immigrants, its just disgusting. SO many lives will get destroyed; so many hopes and dreams will be shattered. This is why, WE as a country need to fight for out immigrants and expose the great value they have in the country
During the election and during President Trump’s first months as President, immigration has been a highly controversial topic. During his campaign, President-elect Trump expressed his distaste for the H-1B work Visa program, which ironically was how his wife Melaina Trump could come to the US along with the annual average of 200 Models that were granted the visa even though they don’t meet that education requirements (Huffington Post). Currently the President is in the middle of drafting an executive order that will effect the Visa program, although he needed to hurry before April 3rd deadline (when the applications are accepted) (Bloomberg). The program has been equated to indentured servitude (Huffington Post). This is since the recipients of this Visa are required to work to stay in the country. Although these workers can change employers it would mean they would have to restart the long process of acquiring a green card. Silicon Valley is the major participator in this program and the removal of this program would hurt business like Apple, Google and Facebook because it allows them to recruit foreign employees that they can pay at a lesser rate than Americans. The salaries of software engineers have fallen flat lately and are only rising by 2% per year for established workers (Huffington Post). Since the visa discourages the workers from changing job they are less likely to leave even if their income growth is stagnating. The program also favors younger immigrants since they will be able to work for a longer period (Huffington Post). This is a form of ageism. Encouraging immigration, especially intelligent and skilled immigrants, is necessary for economic growth. While I admire the fact that the program has brought these immigrants to America the program needed overhauling. I would like to see a more open immigration policy, but concerning the H-1B visa I believe that the minimum salary needs to be raised to discourage employers from using these immigrants as cheer labor. We need more skilled workers and that we should not limit it to the 65,000 that are awarded these visas (Forbes). While America needed these talented individual, we should not limit ourselves by what we consider “skilled”. The H-1B visa requires at least a bachelor’s degree, most recipients have a higher degree. This requirement means that millions of people who could bring wealth to this country and our culture are excluded, possibly because of a lack of income needed to acquire a degree on top of the slim chances of winning the H-1B Visa Lottery. This is similar to Candidate Marco Rubio’s idea for a merit based immigration reform, allowing only the affluent and privileged to enter this country. Even though we want the skilled, we also want “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”.