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Undocumented Immigrants Pay More In Taxes Than Wealthy

Published on Tue, Apr 19, 2011

A new study released by the Immigration Policy Center for tax day shows that at least half of the undocumented immigrants in this country pay income taxes. Add that to the sales and property taxes that those undocumented persons also pay and undocumented immigrants pay more in taxes than most wealthy Americans.

The total amount of tax revenue collected in state and local taxes is approximately $11.2 billion, including $1.2 billion in personal income taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes and $8.4 billion in sales taxes.

The numbers don't come as much of a surprise to those who track immigration policy. According to Wendy Sefsaf, communications director for the American Immigration Council, the current political movement to restrict, criminalize and punish immigrants will come at a steep price to states.

According to Sefsaf "[t]he restrictionist movement in the U.S. spends all their time letting everyone know how much [undocumented immigrants] cost us, and they try to ignore the fact that they contribute. We are not trying to say there are not costs associated with people. There are costs associated with everyone. But we are trying to balance out the debate."

States like Florida, for example, which collects about $806.8 million from unauthorized immigrants and does not have a state income tax would certainly feel the impact should a significant amount of that population leave. That revenue comes from immigrants buying groceries, rent and other necessities subject to sales and property taxes.

The bottom line is to suggest that undocumented immigrants are nothing but a revenue suck on states is simply wrong. While that will likely not change the conversation for those who have committed to making attacking immigrants the wedge issue of the moment, as Sefsaf notes, the only way to have an honest conversation about changing immigration policy is with a full set of facts.

Published in the Care 2.com

Detention, Challenging the Legality of Detention

ARCHIVED ISSUE PAGE (LAST UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2011)

This archived litigation issue page focuses on four areas of detention litigation:

  1. Challenging Matter of Rojas: does mandatory detention apply if ICE does not take custody “when the alien is released” from criminal custody?
  2. Matter of Garcia-Arreola: the BIA’s 2010 decision overturning Matter of Saysana, and holding that mandatory detention does not apply where the release from incarceration is unrelated to the ground that triggered mandatory detention
  3. Challenging prolonged mandatory detention pending a final decision on removal
  4. Post order prolonged mandatory detention for individuals deemed “specially dangerous”

For more information about challenging the legality of detention, see the Resources section.Read more...

Q&A with Marloes Schenk

February, 2012

Congratulations to Marloes Schenk, our Exchange Visitor of the Month. We recently caught up with Marloes to learn more about her J-1 training experience.

Read more...

Report documents dramatic shift in immigrant workforce’s skill level

Published on Thu, Jun 09, 2011

Highly skilled temporary and permanent immigrants in the United States now outnumber lower-skilled ones, marking a dramatic shift in the foreign-born workforce that could have profound political and economic implications in the national debate over immigration.

This shift in America’s immigration population, based on census data, is summarized in a report released Thursday by the Brookings Institution. It found that 30 percent of the country’s working-age immigrants, regardless of legal status, have at least a bachelor’s degree, while 28 percent lack a high school diploma.

The shift had been in the works for the past three decades, a period that has seen a dramatic increase in the population born outside the United States. But in 2007 the percentage of highly skilled workers overtook that of lower-skilled workers.

The trend reflects a fundamental change in the structure and demands of the U.S. economy, which in the past decades transformed from an economy driven by manufacturing to one driven by information and technology. The report also offers a new perspective on the national immigration discourse, which tends to fixate on low-skilled, and often illegal, workers.

“Too often the immigration debate is driven by images on television of people jumping over fences,” said Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Council, an immigrant advocacy organization. “The debate has been stuck in the idea that it’s all about illegal and low-skilled workers.”

Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, an organization that advocates for tighter immigration restrictions, said the report raises other concerns.Read more...

Published in the Washington Post

Remand Rule

Gonzales v. Tchoukhrova, 549 U.S. 801 (2006)

  • In a summary order dated April 17, 2006, the Supreme Court vacated the Ninth Circuit’s decision and remanded the case “for further consideration in light of Gonzales v. Thomas, 547 U.S. ___ (2006).” In Thomas, the Court held that the Ninth Circuit should have applied the “ordinary remand rule,” and remanded the case to the BIA for further analysis.
  • The Court’s ruling in Tchoukhrova indicates that the Ninth Circuit erred by reaching issues that the BIA had not ruled on in the first instance.

Obama raises false hope on immigration

Published on Wed, Aug 24, 2011

If there was ever any doubt that the only thing President Obama is truly gifted at is getting people to hope for change, we need look no further than his recent announcement to review the cases of up to 300,000 illegal immigrants facing deportation.

Too bad it's false hope.

Despite initial excitement of the immigrant advocacy organizations who are fighting for nothing less than a full 1980s-style amnesty -- and the correlated anger from conservatives who believe that last week's decision to re-evaluate the existing enforcement priorities is just that -- this is not a big step in immigration policy.

This latest Obama re-election campaign stunt won't affect 97 percent of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in our country. It is causing a lot of confusion within the very communities it is supposed to assuage, and it is further alienating those who must come to the negotiating table to hammer out a compromise for our immigration quagmire.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer chimed in quickly after the news broke, denouncing this plan as a "backdoor amnesty." She and others can be forgiven for initially thinking that. At first blush it sounded as though, at the very least, 300,000 lucky souls who were close to being deported had gotten a reprieve.

Many immigration experts and advocacy organizations are urging caution. They're scrambling to tell the immigrant community to not turn themselves in to authorities or try to get themselves detained for the purposes of becoming "legal." The possibility -- and it is just a possibility -- of getting a slate cleaned is open only to the 300,000 already in the pipeline for deportation. Each case will be reviewed by a panel and, if the case is closed, legal resident status will not be granted.Read more...

Published in the Herald Extra Utah Valley News

Going to the AILA Annual Conference in San Diego?

The International Exchange Center will be running three special sessions in the Exhibit Hall on understanding the J Visa.

Practical Tips for the J Visa
June 16 (3:00 pm–3:45 pm)

Including the J-1 Client in Your Practice
June 17 (10:15 am–11:00 am)

J-1 Visa—The Advanced Class
June 18 (9:25 am–10:10 am)

For more informations on the sessions, please click here.

Quick Fact: The importance of unauthorized immigrants in California

If all of the unauthorized immigrants in California were removed, the state would lose $301.6 billion in economic activity, decrease total employment by 17.4%, and eliminate 3.6 million jobs.

E-Verify shouldn't be mandatory

Published on Tue, Oct 25, 2011

Fane, a native of Tonga, works as a dispatcher for a company in Los Angeles. When she was hired, her employer used E-Verify, an electronic federal database intended to identify only unauthorized immigrants, to verify her work authorization. Though she's been a U.S. citizen for 16 years, the E-Verify system flagged her. She had not notified the Social Security Administration that she had become a U.S. citizen - something that she did not realize that she was supposed to do.

Fane reported the mix-up to her employer, which eventually reinstated her. But she lost back pay for two weeks of work - a devastating loss of income for a working-class single mother of four.

Cases like Fane's, unfortunately, would become all the more common if Congress passes H.R. 2885, a bill sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, to require all employers to implement E-Verify. Currently, the flawed E-Verify program is voluntary for most employers. This bill recently passed out of the House Judiciary Committee.

The government's own study shows that E-Verify's current error rate is 20 times higher for foreign-born workers than U.S.-born workers and 30 times higher for naturalized citizens, according to Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Making the system mandatory would adversely affect all immigrants, but especially the nation's Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, of whom more than two-thirds are foreign-born.

And those who are those authorized to work in this country, including U.S. citizens, could be deemed unauthorized simply due to an old database system that doesn't reflect current work authorization status. Because of errors in E-Verify, between 144,000 and 415,000 U.S. citizens and other legal workers in California alone could lose their jobs if they do not know to or are unable to correct their records, according to the Immigration Policy Center.Read more...

Published in the The Bellingham Herald