There is mounting pressure on Congress to address the issue of immigration reform. And as lawmakers are asked to relax the criteria for allowing undocumented immigrants to live, work, and achieve U.S. citizenship, an alliance has been formed between advocates and tax preparers. The tax experts are not only dispelling the rumors about immigrants NOT paying taxes, but they're also trying to help them establish a stronger foothold in the economy.
Of the roughly 54-million Hispanics living in the U.S., 11 to 13 million of them are undocumented. But Martee Saldana Pierson, the National Director of Diversity Programs for Liberty Tax Service, says her company and partners do encourage immigrants to be fiscally responsible. She says most are, but even when they don't pay income taxes, money comes out of their checks.
Saldana-Pierson says this resulted in 11.2 billion dollars in taxes paid by undocumented immigrants in 2010 alone. While some ARE hiding underground, others can't get the proper IDs or work visas or have low ages. But to be greater assets to their communities, they need empowerment.
Saldana-Pierson says Liberty is part of an emerging system that helps immigrants integrate. She says congressional reform and private resources for education and job training would help increase the tax base exponentially.