Illegal immigration myth buster: A lawyer sets the record straight on taxes and benefits.

Some people believe that undocumented immigrants exploit our system and get loads of free benefits. It's not true.

There's a lot of confusion about immigration, which is understandable. It's a complex issue, with a lot of gray area. But there are many myths being perpetuated about undocumented immigrants that create an unnecessarily murky picture of the reality.

One of those myths is that people migrate to the U.S. and cross the border illegally so they can receive public benefits without contributing anything to our system. But that's not true.


Unauthorized immigrants make up 5% of the U.S. workforce, but account for more than a quarter of our agriculture workforce. Photo via David McNew/Getty Images.

An immigration lawyer set the record straight in a viral Facebook post.

Eric Pavri is an immigration lawyer and the director of Family Immigration Services at Catholic Charities of Central Colorado. Responding to people's comments and questions about illegal immigration, Pavri penned a detailed explanation of what undocumented immigrants can and cannot do within our system.

I'm an immigration lawyer. I know that many of my Facebook friends, who are good and intelligent people, honestly have...

Posted by Eric Pavri on Sunday, February 11, 2018

First, he explained how undocumented immigrants pay taxes without being able to tap into federal benefits.

Pavri explained that "only a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident (green card holder) can receive almost all types of public benefit — including Medicaid, Medicare, SSI disability, social security payments for seniors, TANF, and food stamps."

But undocumented immigrants still pay into the tax system that funds those benefits — even though they aren't eligible to receive them. "The irony: most undocumented immigrants work under made-up social security numbers," wrote Pavri, "and so receive a paycheck from which social security, federal income taxes, and state income taxes are withheld, and of course they pay the same local sales and property taxes as anyone else through retail purchases, pass-through costs of apartment leases, etc."

Photo via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

"But none of those employees," he continued, "despite paying IN to the system, will ever receive those public benefits listed above, that are paid for by the money withheld from their paychecks. So they are propping up our federal and state government entitlement programs because they pay in but won’t ever take out."

According to the nonprofit, nonpartian Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, undocumented workers pay nearly $12 billion in state and local taxes and pay a higher effective tax rate than America's top-earners do. And because they don't qualify for most benefits, that tax revenue is gravy for the government.

Then Pavri described the few benefits undocumented immigrants do receive. (Hint: They're good for the nation as a whole.)

Undocumented immigrants do receive a handful of "benefits" for what they contribute to the tax system. But they are either provided for the common good or out of basic human decency. Pavri wrote:

"The following are the public benefits that undocumented immigrants can receive in the United States:
1) Public education for children in grades K-12. This was definitively established by a 1982 Supreme Court case, Plyler v. Doe. The Supreme Court in its reasoning explicitly stated that it would not serve the overall public good of the U.S. to leave many thousands of children uneducated.
2) Emergency room services, but only to the point where the patient is considered “medically stable,” at which point he/she is released. These services are not free, however, as in my job I meet hundreds of immigrant families who sacrifice over years to slowly pay off high emergency room medical bills.
3) WIC assistance. This is for milk, food, etc, and available only to pregnant mothers. The rationale is that the children in the womb will be U.S. citizens when born, and therefore it is in the long-term economic best interests of the nation to ensure that they receive adequate prenatal nutrition to improve their chances of being productive citizens in the decades to come.
4) Assistance from police if they are the victim of a crime and call for help. To their credit, the vast majority of our Colorado Springs law enforcement officers take their duty to protect all people seriously. Chief Carey of the CSPD and Sheriff Elder of the EPCSO have made clear that their officers can’t do their most important job – keeping us safe by getting dangerous criminals off our streets – if a whole class of people (undocumented immigrants) is afraid to call 911 to report crimes that they witness or are victim to.
5) Assistance from a fire department. Rationale, besides the obvious moral one: If your house was next to that of an undocumented immigrant family, would you want the firefighters to let that house continue to burn, putting yours at risk of catching on fire too?
And that’s it. Those, to the best of my knowledge, are the only public benefits that an undocumented immigrant can receive in just about any part of the United States."





Pavri then expressed, as someone who works closely with this hardworking and economically challenged population, he wishes he could help them gain access to more of the benefits their taxes technically pay for.

Photo via Robyn Beck/Getty Images.

The notion that undocumented immigrants are coming here and stealing from our benefits system is simply false.

And it's not the only myth being perpetuated. President Donald Trump has repeatedly pushed rhetoric about illegal immigration and crime, going so far as to establish a hotline specifically to report crimes committed by suspected illegal immigrants and parading around victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants (and bizarrely autographing the dead victims' photographs, but that's another story).

Study after study shows that illegal immigration does not increase crime and there is no clear evidence that illegal immigrants are statistically more likely to commit more or worse crime than native-born Americans. (Simple logic would also dictate that people living some place illegally would try to avoid breaking the law so they wouldn't be deported.)

The facts simply don't support the idea that undocumented immigrants are a drain on the system or that they increase crime. While there may be legitimate arguments to be made for revamping our border policies, the arguments many people use for cracking down on illegal immigration simply don't hold up against the facts.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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