US Government Takes Immigrants’ Taxes, But Immigrants Won’t Receive Rebates

By Jonathan Adams May 12, 2008

Immigrant families contribute millions to the economy and have been some of the worst affected by this economic recession. Even though the US government makes sure to collect taxes from immigrants, whole families are ineligible to receive the tax rebates. The National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC), the leading network of Latin American immigrant-led organizations in the United States, called the exclusion hypocritical, unfair, and counterproductive.

“On a yearly basis, hard working immigrants to whom our obsolete and dysfunctional immigration law system has denied them legal permanent residency status, pay billions of dollars in Federal, State, Social Security and Medicare taxes. However, in spite of their well documented contributions, these workers and their tax paying relatives are denied justice and equality under the law,” stated Oscar Chacón, NALACC Executive Director. “Different levels of government have no problem collecting taxes from everyone. However, our government denies tax-paying immigrant workers who lack immigration status their fair share of tax rebates, and by doing so limiting the expected outcome of the economic stimulus checks,” continued Mr. Chacon. According to economists, undocumented immigrants contributed $428 billion dollars to the nation’s $13.6 trillion gross domestic product in 2006 alone. Contributions from sales taxes, property taxes and excise taxes (such as the gas tax) paid by undocumented workers, are significant, they also add. These are examples of how this policy affects real-life families: 1) a head of household in Rancho Cordova, CA, filed jointly with his wife, but because she is in the process of becoming a permanent resident she does not have a SS number. They will not receive the stimulus check; 2) a U.S.-born citizen in Chicago, IL, filed jointly with her fiancé hoping to receive at least $600, but she too will not receive a check; 3) a permanent resident living in Compton, CA, filed his return, did not include his wife, but he included a child who does not have a valid SS number. Instead of the $900 he expected to receive, he will receive nothing. Angela Sanbrano, NALACC president, added: “It is a false assumption that undocumented immigrants do not pay taxes. In California, the tenth largest economy in the world, immigrants pay approximately $4.5 billion in state taxes each year; their federal tax contribution is more than $30 billion annually. If the Bush Administration’s real objective is to stimulate the economy, not returning a well-deserved entitlement to immigrants misses a great opportunity to do so.”