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Experts Discuss Billions In Taxes Paid By Immigrants, While Trump Pays $750 or Nothing At All

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A recording of the call is available here.

Earlier today, undocumented immigrants, advocates, attorneys, and immigration stakeholders gathered on a press call to discuss how immigrant taxes are found to be in the billions but President Donald Trump pays little to none in taxes. Time and time again, we hear Pres. Donald Trump’s negative comments towards immigrants, yet these same immigrants are the ones supporting this country’s economy on their backs. We are again reminded of the astounding cruelty and hypocrisy of this administration. The Trump administration has made it a central policy and frequent rhetorical point to demonize immigrants and to question their contributions to American society. It is disgusting that Trump would attempt to uproot families, disrupt communities, and devastate the economy because of his bigotry and xenophobia while he himself evades fair contributions.

Sandra Díaz, formerly an undocumented employee of the Trump Organization, said, “I have worked for Trump for four years. We love this country, we work hard for this country. I paid my taxes while I was undocumented and I still pay my taxes. But at this time, we don’t have benefits. I am happy the truth is out. Thank God and we have proof that we paid our taxes. ”

Yanira Arias, TPS holder and National Campaigns Manager, Alianza Americas, said, “In the past two years alone I have paid a total of $15,394 in taxes. Also for the past two years I have been part of the organizing efforts to try to stop the deportation of people covered by TPS like me, humanize our stories, and urge Congress to legislate to protect us permanently. It is unfair and painful to hear that the person who wants to send me to a possible death has not fulfilled his tax responsibilities. He is not only failing to TPS holders, he is failing to the people of the United States ”

Juan Escalante, DACA recipient and author of “I’m an undocumented immigrant. I pay my taxes every year,” said, “As we saw yesterday, Donald Trump exploits people of color and the tax system that we are supposed to pay into. As a DACA recipient who has lived here for over 2 decades, my family has paid taxes every year. In fact, it’s one of the few things that makes us feel American, it fills us with a duty and responsibility. However, today, we know the president has failed for multiple years to fulfill that duty. How shameful for him and his followers to spin the story. They are alluding he is so smart for cheating the tax system…it’s a system that willingly takes tax money from immigrants, from people like myself, my family, and other DACA recipients while denying them an opportunity to become citizens of this country. The President has little regard for the rule of law in this country. He expects us to become citizens the ‘right way,’ but he doesn’t follow the law himself. I’m urging every eligible citizen to ensure that they go out to cast their ballot against the man who has little regard for our country, our family, and immigrants who just want an opportunity to work, pay their taxes, and have a shot at having the American Dream.”

Aníbal Romero, Immigration Attorney, The Romero Firm, who represents several former Trump Organization employees, said, “My clients have worked in Trump and Ivanka’s houses. They have paid their taxes and have proof with pay stubs and W-2. These documents have been given to the authorities. There is this misconception that immigrants don’t pay their taxes, when it’s Trump who is not paying his taxes. Money is withheld from my clients’ paychecks but none of them receive benefits. They will not be able to receive Social Security upon retirement. In the light of the pandemic, they have not been able to receive unemployment benefits or a stimulus check. They are on their own. One of my clients, Sandra Díaz, is now a legal permanent resident. She has put everything on the line to tell her story, but Americans need to know. She’s here to explain her story, especially in light of the New York Times’ article. 

Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice (Moderator), said, “I worked on the immigration issue for the last 20 years. One topic that keeps coming up in this debate is taxes. Americans feel very strongly that people should pay their taxes. And if you’re paying your taxes, then you are in the same boat as I am. It’s more than just the dollars and cents, it’s a key value and signifier that you are one of us. It makes you American in many people’s eyes. Most Americans believe that immigrants don’t pay taxes, especially undocumented immigrants. Whether through misinformation or simply not understanding the realities of who undocumented immigrants are, many Americans think of immigrants of being paid off the books or under the table, when in reality, most immigrants who are undocumented are working and their full share of taxes are being taken out. And yet, they are excluded from most benefits.

Trump’s lack of paying taxes is an important teachable moment. Ever since he launched his campaign and said Mexicans are criminals and rapists, he has been saying in deeds and action that immigrants are a threat, that immigrants are a drain, that they are criminals and freeloaders. He has built his political career on the backs of immigrants and, as we have learned, exploiting immigrants was a big part of his business career. During the pandemic, and even as Trump has acted this year to take away DACA and TPS protections against deportations, Americans have seen how immigrants have stepped up, doing more than their fair share to keep up healthy, safe, and fed as essential workers from farms to hospitals to factories. Immigrants have put their skill and health on the line along with a lot of other working class people and people of color and are paying a disproportionately high price in terms of sickness and death. They are standing up for the best ideals of what it means to be Americans.”