Letter: Undocumented workers and migrants are not a burden


I have read the South Whidbey Record letters to the editor for years and for the first time ever, am moved to respond to Mr. Robert Brown’s letter, Sept. 4, regarding immigrants. I would like to inform Mr. Brown that it is not “illegal immigrants [sic]” that are using his “assets — social security and Medicare.”

In fact, the reverse is true. Undocumented workers’ contributions reduce the burden placed upon the rest of the workforce. A small example of this is the 600 migrants who were recently arrested in the chicken processing plants in Mississippi . All of these immigrants were paying all the taxes that any employed person would pay including Social Security tax.

IRS data show undocumented workers paid at least $23.6 billion in income taxes in 2015 alone, including Social Security and Medicare, despite the fact that they are not even eligible for these benefits. Undocumented workers pay into a pool from which they will never collect. The perception that undocumented workers are a burden upon our Social Security and Medicare systems is a myth.

The greater problem is that these immigrants are risking their lives to come to this country to perform jobs that Americans won’t do. And some lose their lives coming here. Imagine the circumstances you would be in to leave your family and community at the risk of death just for a job.

We have to find a way for these people to legally, safely and humanely come to this country to work — to have the protection of our laws when here and then safely return home to their families. They are not a drag on our social systems. Most of these people don’t want to leave their children, their families, their culture or way of life. They want an opportunity to support their families, to provide a better life and do so in safety, something they don’t often have in their own country.

Billie Draves


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