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Illegal immigrants pay taxes, like we do

This is the occasional reminder that I consider substantive differences few among these alternatives: illegal aliens, illegal immigrants, and undocumented workers. I personally use “undocumented workers”. But when citing a source such as a news article I usually defer to the source’s preference.

Contradictions abound. Do Lou Dobbs' illegal aliens pay taxes? Apparently a lot – with no prospect of getting Soc Security or Medicare benefits.

According to the New York Times, since enactment of the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986, which imposed stricter alien identification rules, a lot of underground taxpayers appeared. The Feds have

…Received a flood of W-2 earnings reports with incorrect - sometimes simply fictitious - Social Security numbers. It stashed them in what it calls the "earnings suspense file" …. The file has been mushrooming ever since: $189 billion worth of wages ended up recorded in the suspense file over the 1990's, two and a half times the amount of the 1980's.
In 2002 alone, the last year with figures released by the Social Security Administration, nine million W-2's with incorrect Social Security numbers landed in the suspense file, accounting for $56 billion in earnings, or about 1.5 percent of total reported wages.


Now that I think about it, your argument makes a lot of sense. Illegal aliens (the correct legal term from the U.S. Code) do pay in to our system. In fact, we profit off their labor. That means that we might lose money if we enforced our laws.

But, if we looked the other way, we'd make more money.

The only problem - the only problem - I have with that is this nagging feeling that that's what they normally call corruption.

What do you think? Should we look the other way and be corrupt? Doesn't that tend to corrode our very political system?

I guess to some people that doesn't matter.

Yes, this kind of activity is one of many ways that standards are being eroded. I would not blame the aliens so much as employer and governmental policies and practices, which are tone deaf to the reality of so many illegal aliens working in the country. These workers perform real work, regardless of their legal status and what one might think of it.

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