The amount of money being sent back to corrupt countries by immigrant workers (cheap, borderline slave labor) and drug dealers in the United States is mind-blowing. There is a way for Congress to tax the funds that are earned by foreigners working for American companies, and it just might be enough to build the wall. The question is, will Democrats and Republican lawmakers who are beholden to the Chamber of Commerce, ever agree to stop encouraging illegal aliens from crossing our borders?
Wouldn’t it be nice to keep at least a portion of the money earned in the United States in the United States?
The Washington Examiner reports – Legal and illegal immigrants in the United States send a record $148 billion home in 2017, with Latin America and China topping the list, according to new World Bank data.
Mexico received the most, at $30 billion, followed by China at $16 billion and India at $11 billion.
And the three Northern Triangle nations targeted by President Trump’s funding threat over illegal immigration, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, received over $16 billion, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center.
The $148 billion shipped home in 2017 is up from the $138 billion in “remittances” in 2016.
And it is up significantly from the $123 billion sent out in 2012. Globally, immigrants sent $625 billion home in 2017, a 7% one-year jump.
Immigration expert Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies recently told Secrets that one concern is that nations from which illegal immigrants come into the United States from feeling no need to reform since so much money is coming home from those illegals.
“The sums of money involved are huge, particularly as a share of GDP and personal income in the Central American countries. It offers a big clue as to why these countries are giving only token efforts to stem the tide of migrants to the United States, especially El Salvador and Honduras,” said Vaughan, who regularly testifies before Congress on immigration policy.
It seems to me that the best chance to have achieved his goal would have been to fold within the confines of the recently-passed tax bill a measure that would have established a surcharge or levy on outgoing money orders, since these are financial transactions that occur in the millions, and that collectively represent a huge amount of the remittances being sent home by Mexican and other illegal aliens working unlawfully in the United States. (By making the fee refundable for anyone who files a tax return, as is the case in Oklahoma, the cost would be borne mainly by illegal aliens.)
Dan Cadman of the Center for Immigration Studies believes Trump could have made Mexico pay for the border wall if Congress would have folded into the recently-passed tax bill a measure that would have established a surcharge or levy on outgoing money orders, since these are financial transactions that occur in the millions, and that collectively represent a huge amount of the remittances being sent home by Mexican and other illegal aliens working unlawfully in the United States. (By making the fee refundable for anyone who files a tax return, as is the case in Oklahoma, the cost would be borne mainly by illegal aliens.)
David North of the Center for Immigration Studies suggests the best way to fund the construction of the wall is for the federal government to follow Oklahoma and Georgia’s lead, as they tax wire transfers made by illegal aliens and drug dealers in America to their respective countries.
According to North, it’s time to take a new look at a nearly totally ignored potential source of governmental revenue — taken mostly from illegal aliens and drug dealers — to see how three different jurisdictions are handling the issue. Potentially it could bring in well over $2 billion a year for the federal and/or state governments, and not one penny would be paid by law-abiding residents.
Sounds like a winner, right? But Chamber of Commerce types have fought it successfully, except in Oklahoma, where there is such an arrangement.
What I have in mind is a 2 percent withholding fee on wire transfers out of the nation, i.e., on cash transfers that would include illegal aliens’ remittances to their homelands, some drug trades, and some legitimate, non-corporate money transactions. There would be no charge on corporate transfers. Note that we are proposing a fee, not a tax. The concept is that it is a withholding, a credit against one’s income tax, and thus costs nothing to law-abiding, tax-paying people.
In fact, Oklahoma tax authorities tell us, most of the fees are not reported on state income tax filings, and thus the moneys collected are a de facto tax on otherwise untaxed income. Chamber of Commerce objections relate not only to a knee-jerk reaction to new taxes of any kind, but also to the rational (if objectionable) fear that taxing the income of illegals in any way will push up pressure on the wages paid to those workers, and thus would reduce the profits of businessmen using illegal alien workers. (That is the presumed C of C rationale, not its public position.)
So, how is this issue playing out in Oklahoma, in Georgia, and with the federal government?
Oklahoma. This is the only state in the nation with a wire-transfer fee, as we have reported earlier, and the state’s most recent annual tax report (for fiscal year 2016-2017) showed that the wire transfer fee brought in $12,873,864. Oklahoma has a 1 percent fee.
While both business interests and the Government of Mexico (in an open manner, unlike Russian interventions in our politics) objected to the bill, it was adopted by the state legislature, and is no longer the subject of controversy. The annual collections increase each year by about 10 percent. It stands as a model for the rest of the nation.
Georgia. There is before this state’s legislature, as there may be elsewhere (but unknown to us), a bill (HR 66) to replicate the Oklahoma system at the 2 percent level. It was introduced by a member of the Republican majority in the State House of Representatives, State Rep. Jeff Jones (Brunswick).
According to CNN Money:
Mexicans sent home $26.1 billion from January to November 2017, according to figures released Tuesday by the central bank of Mexico. That’s the most ever recorded and better than the $24.1 billion sent in 2016 over the same period.
The failure to wrap the remittance levy into the tax bill was a lost opportunity of epic proportions.
Doing so would have achieved the president’s goal in a way that the Mexican government could hardly have complained about, given the source of the transfers and the fact that this money is forever lost to the U.S. economy when it is sent to Mexico or elsewhere.
We’d love to hear what you think about the idea of charging foreigners a fee to wire money home to their homeland. Please let us know in the comment section below.