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Republican "Deportation Tax" Revealed in Judiciary Committee Hearing

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Republicans Demand that Taxpayers Pay Billions of Dollars for Mass Deportation, Instead of Turning Undocumented Immigrants into Taxpayers

Washington – The Immigration Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee held its first hearing under Republican leadership yesterday, titled “ICE Worksite Enforcement – Up to the Job?”  It is the first unveiling of Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Elton Gallegly (R-CA), and Immigration Subcommittee Vice-Chairman Steve King’s (R-IA) immigration agenda this year. 

Their answer to the question of what to do with the 11 million undocumented immigrants in our country today is a thinly-disguised mass deportation approach.  Yesterday’s hearing revealed the staggering costs that taxpayers would bear to carry out this agenda.  According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), it costs the American taxpayers $12,500 to deport each undocumented immigrant they come across.  That means that the government spent $5 billion last year to deport a record 393,000 immigrants.  We can continue down this path and levy a deportation tax on every American in the country today, or we can pass comprehensive immigration reform that turns undocumented workers and their employers into legal taxpayers.    

Frank Sharry, Executive Director of the America’s Voice Education Fund said, “When it comes to immigration, House Republicans have decided to put ideology ahead of the economy.  Their proposed mass deportation approach would tax every working American today, and spend billions of dollars on deportation.  Or, we can do the rational, practical thing, and require immigrant workers to register with the government and pay taxes on their way to becoming full American citizens.  It’s simple math: either we tax ourselves to deport millions of workers, or we get them in the system paying their fair share of taxes.” 

Analysis by the Center for American Progress found that the costs of mass deportation would drain $2.5 trillion from the economy over ten years.  Compared to enacting comprehensive immigration reform, which would add $1.5 trillion to the GDP over ten years, the fiscally responsible choice is clear.   

Said Sharry, “House Republicans seem hell-bent on taxing Americans to fund their mass deportation obsession, instead of taxing immigrants and their employers.  The smart, effective, and fiscally sound approach is clear.  When will the budget hawks in the party step up and take the wheel from the anti-immigrant ideologues like Smith, Gallegly, and King?” 

 America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.