LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Recently there has been a number of letters to the editor on the topic of illegal immigration. This is certainly a hot button subject and people are certainly entitled to their opinions. However; a number of these opinions are incorrect and paint a most unflattering and demeaning picture of these illegal immigrants.
One recent writer said “We have illegals who just come into our country looking for handouts and all the free benefits the government will give them. We have people who don’t want to work but want to play the system – and then protest for more handouts.”
Now let us examine the facts, the Social Security Administration says there are approximately 340 million unclaimed tax forms recorded by their agency. “A good portion of those forms were filed by employers on behalf of some of the most unlikely funders of Social Security: undocumented immigrants. In fact, illegal immigration is considered largely responsible for the mushrooming of the file, with undocumented workers paying billions in taxes for retirement benefits they will likely never receive.”
“Many immigrants who aren’t authorized to work in the United States buy fake Social Security cards and present them to their employers, who either don’t know they are fake or don’t look too closely. When the employer submits a W-2 form and tax payment on those workers’ behalf to the Social Security Administration, the federal government holds onto those payroll taxes, even if the Social Security number isn’t linked to anyone on file. And then, a large chunk of that money ends up in the Social Security trust funds, from which retirement benefits are doled out to aging Americans.
Mr. Stephen Goss, the Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration calculated that in 2010 undocumented immigrants paid $13 billion into the retirement fund but only received $1 billion in benefits.
The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates that about half of the undocumented workers in the United States pay income taxes. They also help fund public schools and local government services by paying sales and property taxes like any other resident. This totaled approximately $10.6 billion in state and local taxes in 2010.
When asked why he would pay taxes, an undocumented worker from Mexico advised that it might one day help him stay in the United States.
Another writer rails against the crimes being committed by the illegal immigrants. Again, the facts dispel this allegation. In a 2015 National Academy of Sciences study found “Immigrants are in fact much less likely to commit crime that natives, and the presence of large numbers of immigrants seems to lower crime rates. This disparity also holds for young men most likely to be undocumented immigrants: Mexican, Salvadoran, and Guatemalan men.” It continued: “Today, the belief that immigrants are most likely to commit crimes is perpetuated by ‘issue entrepreneurs’ who promote the immigrant-crime connection in order to drive restrictionist immigration policy.” Illegal immigrants are 44 percent less likely to be incarcerated than natives.
I support our immigration laws. But I do bemoan the fact, that so many of the opinions put forth by some in our community derides these individuals on incorrect and blatantly false information. Our government needs to find a solution to ensure that the illegals, that are eligible, can be granted citizenship.
Today, President George W. Bush delivered a speech that should awaken us all “Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seem more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.” President Bush urged citizens to oppose threats to American democracy. “ We’ve seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization. We’ve see nationalism distorted into nativism, and forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America.”
A speech well delivered and certainly needed.