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Public Statements

U.S. Magnet: Illegal Immigrants Paid $4.2 Billion

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

According to President Obama's own Treasury Department, 2.3 million illegal immigrants who paid no income taxes in 2010 nevertheless received $4.2 billion in tax refunds.

That's four times the tax refunds that were paid to illegal immigrants who paid no taxes in 2005, and is increasing exponentially as more illegal immigrants find out about the program.

At a time when the federal government is considering program cuts for American citizens, giving away billions in taxpayer dollars to illegal immigrants is unconscionable.

Illegal immigrants are able to claim tax credits because the IRS allows illegal immigrants to apply for a nine-digit Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, which is then used to file income tax forms in lieu of a Social Security number. Tax credits are paid even if the taxpayer has no taxable income.

As the Treasury Department inspector general who wrote the report noted, these tax credits are "an additional incentive for aliens to enter, reside and work in the United States without authorization, which contradicts federal law and policy to remove such incentives. Clarification is needed on this issue."

More than clarification is needed. This is one more magnet drawing illegal immigrants to the United States that the federal government must remove.

The big magnet, of course, is jobs.

Removing the job magnet is why I am working hard to pass the Legal Workforce Act through Congress. When fully implemented, the Legal Workforce Act will open up as many as 7 million to 11 million jobs for Americans that are now worked by illegal immigrants.

It requires all employers in the United States to use E-Verify, an easy-to-use, accurate and free Internet-based employee verification system. E-Verify will replace the cumbersome and costly I-9 forms that employers now must use to verify the eligibility of an employee to work in the U.S.

Will E-Verify discourage illegal immigration? The facts speak for themselves.

Bill Watkins, an economist at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, recently told an economic forum that California's high jobless rate is a major factor in only about 23 percent of illegal immigrants coming to California now, about half what it was in 1990. If they are denied a job, a major incentive to immigrate illegally has been removed.

And doing so will have a positive impact on California's economy. Illegal immigration cost Californians a net of more than $20 billion in 2010 in services and incarceration costs. Yet, California continues to provide magnets to draw illegal immigrants to the state. That includes free education for illegal immigrant adults, sanctuary cities and Gov. Jerry Brown's decision to prohibit cities and counties from requiring employers to use E-Verify.

The Legal Workforce Act will overturn Gov. Brown's law.

In addition to requiring E-Verify for all U.S. employers and changing the law so illegal immigrants cannot receive billions from American taxpayers, the federal government must:

* Contact every person on the Social Security Administration no-match list and every employer who employs a no-match worker, and give them 60 days to clear the discrepancy or lose the job. A no-match occurs when the name and Social Security number of a worker do not match. The last time the SSA sent no-match letters, 11 million workers fell into that category.
* Have Immigration and Customs Enforcement follow up on every no-match worker and deport those here illegally.
* End sanctuary policies. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sued Arizona and other states on the doctrine that federal law pre-empts local and state laws. To be consistent, he must sue every city and locality that provides sanctuary to illegal immigrants.
* Require all local and state law enforcement agencies to cooperate with immigration authorities to remove criminal illegal immigrants, including screening for legal status at local jails.
* End state policies, including that of California, of providing taxpayer-subsidized in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants. This is a matter of fairness as well as fiscal responsibility. Why should U.S. citizens or legal residents who have lived their whole lives in California be penalized for leaving the state for a year, when someone illegally in the country and in the state for a year gets a free ride?

Removing the incentives that cause immigrants to come and stay here illegally will not cost governments and will in fact increase revenues. It will remove the need for mass deportations because those who are here illegally will have no incentive to stay and those who would have immigrated illegally no longer have a reason to.

American taxpayers are hurting. They shouldn't have to compete with illegal immigrants for limited resources.

At a time when the federal government is considering program cuts for American citizens, giving away billions in taxpayer dollars to illegal immigrants is unconscionable.


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