The Fabric of America’s Economy Includes Undocumented Immigration (cont.)

diverse Immigrants traveling to United States

As for undocumented immigrants, the Center for Migration Studies estimates that 6 million U.S. born citizens share 3 million households with undocumented residents (mostly their parents). A deportation program’s consequences would include reducing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $4.7 trillion over 10 years, jeopardizing 1.2 million mortgages, adding $118 billion to the cost of childcare, and plunging millions of families into poverty.

The Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy suggests that roughly half of undocumented workers in the United States file income tax returns, using a TIN (tax ID number). In 2015, the IRS received 4.4 million income tax returns from workers who did not have Social Security numbers, which included a large number of undocumented immigrants. That year, these individuals paid $23.6 billion in income taxes, for benefits they can’t even use, like Social Security and Medicare, according to an August 2018 Vox article.

Regardless, the current administration has taken steps to redefine immigration policy to reflect a hard-line stance. The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services removed the phrase, “a nation of immigrants” which read: “American’s promise as a nation of immigrants” in the first sentence of its mission statement. The revised mission statement reads: “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the nation's lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity and promise by efficiently and fairly adjudicating requests for immigration benefits while protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and honoring our values.”

It’s a vision that differs dramatically from the “Who is an American?” sign at Ellis Island.