For years April 15th has been Tax Day in the U.S. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has decided to give taxpayers extra time to file their 2021 tax returns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pushing Tax Day 2022 to Monday, April 18. This is an opportunity for Alianza Americas to help educate our members, the public, and elected officials about the important role taxpayers’ contributions play in building equity and improving the quality of life of every single person who calls the U.S. home.
COVID-19 revealed shortcomings in U.S. infrastructure, as well as the need for a comprehensive response to pandemics, climate change, and inequality. Federal and local governments must invest our tax dollars wisely by ensuring healthcare for all, a just transition to combat the impacts of climate change, and the right to legal representation for anyone in immigration detention. We must also call on legislators to ensure that our tax dollars are not going towards funding prisons and detention centers. Additionally, it’s time Congress delivers a pathway to permanent legal residency to millions of immigrants who contribute billions in taxes.
The last two years have been a pivotal time for immigrant communities in the U.S.: as frontline workers, they have played an essential role in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve also contributed to the country’s economic recovery: 55% of immigrant workers are employed in essential jobs and represent 17% of the total U.S. workforce. An estimated 69% of undocumented immigrants, who have been excluded from nearly every single piece of economic relief, were essential workers throughout the pandemic. These essential jobs were the lifeblood that kept the U.S. economy running during the pandemic and remain a vital part of the U.S. economy.
Overall, immigrant workers contributed nearly $500 billion in taxes in 2019, which includes the $30.6 billion in taxes that undocumented workers pay. The IRS has set up a process for undocumented immigrants to pay taxes through ITIN and TIN identification numbers. Immigrant households contribute hundreds of billions of dollars in federal income, state, and local taxes nationwide and hold a tremendous amount of spending power. In 2019, immigrant workers paid $492.4 billion in taxes. TPS holders paid $2.5 billion in taxes and another $6.2 billion by DACA holders in 2019, meaning immigrant workers have an even greater role in the U.S. economy. However, undocumented workers are still excluded from the same economic benefits other taxpayers receive.
Taxes are a reflection of our collective values and our government must invest every taxpayer’s dollars wisely. Americans from all walks of life can and must speak up by telling Congress and the Biden administration where we want our tax contributions to go: ensuring access to healthcare for all, investing our tax dollars in a just transition to combat the impacts of climate change, and the right to legal representation for anyone in immigration detention while ensuring that our tax dollars are not going towards funding prisons and detention centers. It’s past time Congress delivers a pathway to permanent legal residency to millions of immigrants who contribute billions in taxes.
Watch and share this video from Alianza Americas member Carolina Ortiz of COPAL urging legislators to invest our tax dollars in our communities.