“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.