Legal permanent residents and undocumented immigrants are barred from receiving most forms of social support from the government, yet study after study has demonstrated that they pay taxes in proportion to their representation in the general population. As Social Security Administration spokesperson Mark Hinkle said, “Overall, any type of immigration is a net positive to Social Security” (USA Today, April 11, 2008).
The fact is that our society benefits in many ways from the exploitation of undocumented immigrants, from their cheap labor to make our clothes, clean our houses, care for our children and elders, tidy our lawns, build our homes, pick our food in the fields and prepare our food in restaurants. Ask any farmer, restaurant owner, or factory owner — without immigrants our economy would crumble.
They are only illegal because we refuse to recognize our need for them and to grant them the legality that would protect them from abuse. We also benefit from the billions of dollars in taxes that undocumented immigrants pay every single year, including an estimated $9 billion a year in social security taxes alone.