Idaho refugee contractor: Refugees pay taxes!
Posted by Ann Corcoran on March 12, 2017
Who are you trying to kid?
Message to the head of the local resettlement agency in Twin Falls, Idaho: It is not a good idea to start putting out information about a refugee’s tax liability that can be easily checked!
Zeze Rwasama spoke earlier this month to the Pocotello Rotary Club and made the claim that refugees are not getting much in the way of taxpayer support:
“Resettlement in the U.S. in not for them to become a burden to our public assistance,” Rwasama said. “Yes, we help them for only eight months. After that, they become taxpayers as well. That means we can help more. … A single refugee brought in 2014 working in a dairy made about $26,000 that year. But when you look at how much the agency spent on that person, it was only about $4,600. When you look at the W-2 form and see how much money that person paid into tax that one year, it’s actually close to that $4,600. So in one year this person has paid into the tax funds the total amount of money that was spent on him. That means we can help more because they are coming here to contribute and coming here to support themselves.”
LOL! I’m betting members of the Rotary Club were doing some mental math as he spoke—$4,600 federal tax liability on $26,000 annual income? No way!
Do you see how Rwasama has parsed his words. His dairy worker “paid into tax” close to that $4,600, but when you check his tax liability it is about $2,255 ($2,345 less than the $4,600 withheld). He will get a tax refund of that difference—approximately $2,345! (That tax calculation may vary depending on which year, but you get the idea!).
And, then Zeze Rwasama is only referring to the $4,600 his agency paid to subsidize the dairy farmer’s employee and doesn’t mention the medical care, food stamps and possibly even a housing subsidy that the refugee making $26,000 a year would be eligible for!
And, I just realized that what is never calculated is the cost of the overseas processing of this dairy worker: the vetting, the medical checks, the cost of sending US workers to do the paperwork.
BTW, if the dairy farm employee took a refugee wife on this salary (filing jointly) he might only pay in about $530 in federal income tax.
Rwasama’s agency would presumably have spent $4,600 on her and the couple would then have cost you $9,200 (not including Rwasama’s salary and office expenses, which you paid too!).
If you are interested, just search around for news on Idaho (Oregon, Wisconsin) dairy farms and refugees=controversy!
See our extensive Twin Falls archive by clicking here.
For all of you working in ‘pockets of resistance’ be sure to find out what industries are driving the resettlement where you live. Look for large corporate farms, meatpackers, hotels, manufacturers requiring few skills, and anyone needing cleaning staff. (This is why you see little interest on the part of Republican leaders in Congress to reform the US Refugee Admissions Program.)
This is not about humanitarianism!
Endnote: If there is some accountant out there who has better numbers than I can find, have at it! Let me know what you find. Wouldn’t it be great if someone followed one of these dairy (or hotel, or meatpacking) workers from a camp in Thailand, Kenya or Nepal all the way through the system to see how many tax dollars support the delivery of one (captive) worker to BIG MEAT or BIG DAIRY.