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Vox Explainer and Juan Escalante: Yes, Undocumented Immigrants Pay Billions in Taxes Each Year

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Juan Escalante: “I am an undocumented immigrant, and unlike President Trump, I am willing to show my tax returns”

new Vox explainer ahead of Tax Day demonstrates how undocumented immigrants contribute billions of dollars to the U.S. tax coffers each year. The new piece, which we excerpt below, is a good complement to a personal reflection essay published last year, also in Vox, by America’s Voice’s communications manager and DACA recipient Juan Escalante.

As Juan’s 2017 essay, “I’m an undocumented immigrant. I pay my taxes every year,” assessed:

“I am an undocumented immigrant, and unlike President Trump, I am willing to show my tax returns. Will the president of the United States of America demonstrate that he contributes his fair share just like undocumented immigrants like me?”

Read the new Vox explainer from Alexia Fernández Campbell, “Undocumented immigrants pay billions of dollars in federal taxes each year,” which we excerpt below:

“Millions of undocumented immigrants file tax returns each year, and they are paying taxes for benefits they can’t even use.

The best estimates come from research by the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy, a Washington, DC, think tank, which suggests that about half of undocumented workers in the United States file income tax returns. The most recent IRS data, from 2015, shows that the agency received 4.4 million income tax returns from workers who don’t have Social Security numbers, which includes a large number of undocumented immigrants. That year, they paid $23.6 billion in income taxes.

Those undocumented workers paid taxes for benefits they can’t even use, like Social Security and Medicare. They also aren’t eligible for benefits like the earned income tax credit.

…all undocumented workers fund public schools and local government services by paying sales and property taxes like everyone else. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates that they pay about $11.7 billion a year in state and local taxes.

…The IRS estimates that unauthorized workers pay about $9 billion in payroll taxes annually.

…A portion of the payroll tax withheld from undocumented immigrants — like all workers — goes to the retirement trust fund at the Social Security Administration. In 2013, the agency reviewed how much money undocumented workers contributed the retirement trust fund. The number was astonishing: $13 billion in one year.”