Bearing Witness to Economic Injustices of Undocumented Immigrant Families: A New Class of 'Undeserving' Working Poor
39 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2006 Last revised: 4 Nov 2013
Undocumented immigrants have little or no recourse for economic injustices they suffer through the U.S. tax system. Despite America's historically strong opposition to taxation without representation, undocumented immigrants have not enjoyed the right to vote on any local, state or federal tax for almost eighty years, except in rare and unusual cases. Furthermore, because of their precarious immigration and economic status undocumented immigrants are vulnerable to deportation and exploitation and are chilled from protesting any injustice. As a result they suffer economic injustices daily, which translate into lower prices for countless goods and services that are an everyday part of privileged life in America. The burden of speaking out loudly and clearly about these injustices therefore is ours.
This Essay describes two of too many economic injustices suffered by undocumented immigrant families including their high effective tax rate because they do not qualify for the poorly targeted EITC (even if every member of the family is legally working and present in the United States) and the burden of Social Security and Medicare taxes without the right to receive benefits.
Keywords: earned income tax credit, Social Security taxes, welfare policy, Social Security taxes, undocumented immigrants, unauthorized workers
JEL Classification: D63, E62, H24, H53, H55, I31, K34, I38, J15, J71
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