Undocumented immigrants are technically breaking federal immigration law, however most are hardworking, and they supply labor for necessary jobs at a lower price than would otherwise be available. The children of undocumented immigrants grow up with many of the same influences as children who are American citizens. They also have similar expectations of opportunity. In most states, the policy with regard to post-secondary education access and benefits excludes undocumented immigrants, and their children born outside of the United States (Nienhusser, 2015). Further, potential students would have to apply for student visa status and pay higher tuition fees (Nienhusser, 2015). The cycle of poverty can therefore compound as training and education are beyond reach for these households. Healthcare policies are another area that have an impact on undocumented immigrants. Because in many cases it is impossible for undocumented immigrants to access health insurance, and because public hospitals must report on undocumented immigrants who receive care in their facilities, many undocumented immigrants choose to forego preventative healthcare and treatment, with negative effects on their well-being (Martinez et al., 2015). Given the lack of access to most services and programs, it is therefore a surprise to many people that undocumented immigrants pay taxes (Gardner, Johnson & Wiehe, 2015). This population contributes to the funding resources for health, education and other issues however they have a great deal of difficulty in benefitting from them. Taxation can occur at both state and federal levels (Gardner et al., 2015). The relationship between these policies and the undocumented immigrant population can be summarized as one that is discriminatory. While undocumented immigrants pay consumption based taxes as well as income taxes in many cases, those programs that are meant to redistribute tax dollars in the form of social benefits are not available to them.
- Gardner, M., Johnson, S., & Wiehe, M. (2015). Undocumented immigrants’ state and local tax contributions. Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy.
- Martinez, O., Wu, E., Sandfort, T., Dodge, B., Carballo-Dieguez, A., Pinto, R., … & Chavez-Baray, S. (2015). Evaluating the impact of immigration policies on health status among undocumented immigrants: a systematic review. Journal of immigrant and minority health, 17(3), 947-970.
- Nienhusser, H. K. (2015). Undocumented immigrants and higher education policy: The policymaking environment of New York State. The Review of Higher Education, 38(2), 271-303.