Posts Tagged ‘Immigration Debate’

The Wrong Incentive for Undocumented Immigrants

December 20th, 2011
posted by at 3:56 pm

By Rashmi Shah

“Happy Holidays from the House of Representatives.  Please leave the tax credit for your children at the door.”

While we are busy buying our last stocking stuffers and planning our holiday feast, the House is planning to move four million U.S. children closer to poverty.

The payroll tax package, likely to pass the House this week, includes a provision prohibiting immigrant taxpayers from receiving a refundable Child Tax Credit.  The Child Tax Credit’s purpose is to keep children out of poverty.  It is one of the most effective ways to alleviate the tax burden imposed on low-income workers raising families, helping put food on the table.

The proposed provision denies taxpayers who file their taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) the ability to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit for their U.S. Citizen children. Undocumented immigrants are required to pay taxes and do so using an ITIN.   According to Immigration Impact, this provision will affect approximately 2 million families and up to 4 million U.S. citizen children.

Despite paying taxes, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for the vast majority of benefits their tax dollars support.  In 2010, ITIN tax filers contributed an estimated 9.2 billion dollars in payroll taxes. In other words, 10 times the amount that would be saved by eliminating the child tax credit away from the U.S. children of ITIN tax filers.

We constantly hear from the anti-immigration lobby that undocumented immigrants don’t pay taxes.  Although that is not factually true, it’s going to become a self-fulfilling prophecy if we allow policies like this to be signed into law.  When approximately 47% of the ‘legal’ U.S. population doesn’t pay Federal Income taxes, do we really need to punish those that do?

Response to LinkedIn Question related to Illegal Immigration

October 13th, 2010
posted by at 4:03 pm

I recently saw this immigration question posed on a LinkedIn page:

Linked In Immigration Question

My thoughts

1. We should not allow illegal immigration. We do need to do something about the illegal immigrants who are already here.   Deporting all of them is not the right answer!  We need smart and fair Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

2. Our ‘means and programs’ that allow for legal immigration are outdated and terrible.

Here are a few examples of why the current immigration system doesn’t work:

  • If a U.S. company wants to sponsor a foreign professional worker for permanent residency (“green card”), the process could take between 7-15 years.  In today’s global economy, what professional worker is going to wait that long when countries such as Chile, India, China, Russia and others are providing great incentives for people to come and work there?  How will U.S. companies compete in the long-term with companies overseas who are able to attract the best talent?
  • The U.S. has one of the best education systems in the world.  But when a foreign student comes to the U.S. and earns his/her Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD, there is no easy mechanism for them to stay here.  Most want to remain in the U.S., work and contribute to our country, but many are leaving because our immigration system doesn’t work out for them.  Why would the U.S. educate these people and then allow them to use their skills elsewhere?
  • Until very recently, it would take a U.S. permanent resident between 4-6 years to sponsor his/her spouse for permanent residency.  Given that being a U.S. permanent resident or “green card” holder is one step below U.S. citizenship, why should he/she be separated from their spouse for that long?  Similarly, why should it take over 5 years for a U.S. citizen to sponsor his/her over 21 children?
  • Why isn’t India included in the E-2 investor program?  Even business investors from Pakistan and Bangladesh can invest money in the U.S., create a business and jobs and get an E-2 investor visa.  However, investors from India, a country that is a friend of the United States and has one of the most booming economies in the world, cannot.
  • Why isn’t there a lawful program that allows companies that need unskilled labor to obtain it from outside the U.S. if they cannot find adequate U.S. workers to do the job?

What can the U.S. do to address the illegal immigration problem?

We could start by doing something about the illegal immigrants who are here, as well as completely reform our legal immigration system to keep up with today’s global economy.

These are  important issues that should be addressed separately, however.  Continuously linking them together will hamper our efforts to reform any of them.

Continuing the Immigration Dialogue

We recently hosted a Webinar on the current state of immigration and how a change like the SKIL Bill could be a welcome change.

Check it out and tell us what you think:

Blog Article By: Murali Bashyam, Esq.