As tax season concluded, CNN featured an article about how illegal aliens “are paying their taxes” too. The post noted they “pay billions of dollars in federal taxes annually, between tax returns filed and taxes deducted from paychecks.” However, they omitted the fact that a significant percentage of illegal aliens may be working off-the-books, therefore would have no taxes withheld from their paychecks.
Even those who do have taxes deducted are generally earning meager wages and ultimately pay less in taxes than U.S. citizens and lawful immigrants. In fact, by virtue of their low incomes, many are eligible to receive tax credits that put money directly into their pockets.
In her piece, CNN reporter, Catherine Shoichet, suggests that “Critics of illegal immigration have long argued that undocumented immigrants who pay taxes are able to do so because they’re using stolen Social Security numbers. But millions of federal tax dollars are paid every year by people who don’t have Social Security numbers at all.”
Shoichet ignores the fact that many illegal aliens are using fraudulent Social Security numbers to work illegally in this country. Thirty-nine million Americans potentially had their Social Security numbers stolen during the Obama administration. People’s identities are stolen for a variety of criminal purposes, including by illegal aliens who use their Social Security numbers to gain employment. In many cases, unsuspecting identity theft victims are faced with tax liens by the IRS, or have their credit ratings destroyed by illegal aliens and other criminals – another significant cost of illegal immigration she conveniently overlooks.
Furthermore, despite Shoichet claiming that “undocumented immigrants pay billions of dollars in federal taxes annually”, she fails to mention the fiscal burden of illegal immigration far exceeds the taxes illegal aliens pay annually. In 2017, illegal immigration cost the country $135 billion when accounting for education, healthcare, welfare, and enforcement costs. Illegal aliens paid around $19 billion in taxes that same year.
There also remains some ambiguity about how many illegal aliens reside in the country and how many of them are working in the ‘underground economy’, which means they do not fill out tax and work authorization forms. Whatever the number, they constitute a large group of individuals who aren’t contributing their fair share of taxes.
Lastly, one of the biggest items not mentioned in Shoichet’s analysis is the fact that remittances are not taxed when illegal aliens send money to their home countries. In 2018, Northern Triangle countries received $17 billion in remittances. For El Salvador and Honduras, this accounted for as much as 20 percent of their GDPs.
CNN has once again misled the American public by cherry-picking data that supports their predetermined conclusions, while ignoring numerous inconvenient truths about the impact of large-scale illegal immigration.