One of the biggest misconceptions about undocumented immigrants is that they don’t pay any taxes. In his first address to Congress, President Trump set the tone for his coming immigration agenda when he said immigration costs US taxpayers “billions of dollars a year.”
A 2017 Gallup poll that asked survey respondents “whether immigrants to the United States are making the [tax] situation in the country better or worse” found that 41 percent said “worse,” while only 23 percent said “better” (33 percent said they had “no effect”).
The reality is far different. Immigrants who are authorized to work in the United States pay the same taxes as US citizens. And, contrary to the persistent myth, undocumented immigrants do in fact pay taxes too. Millions of undocumented immigrants file tax returns each year, and they are paying taxes for benefits they can’t even use.
“I learned my lesson not to give up because I could have easily given up,” Naciye said as she recalled recovering from an assault by a former IU student in 2015. “I was almost losing my business.”
Naciye faced numerous hurdles in her recovery, including issues with her back and posture and the recent closing of the business, Sofra Café, due to unpaid taxes. Naciye said her physical therapist taught her to hold her spine straight again after the assault.
Fuentes, 43, now fulfills this aspiration as the Board President at El Centro Comunal Latino and the assistant manager at Old National Bank. Splitting her time between the two jobs is challenging, but she said they give her a sense of fulfillment. They incorporate her love for helping others, specifically the Latino community in Bloomington.
El Centro is a 15-year-old nonprofit that helps the Latino population in Bloomington. The organization offers health programs, translation, tutoring, youth mentoring, cultural competency training and cultural events.