Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"Wealthy" Undocumented Immigrants?

There are up to 20,000 illegal immigrants earning upward of $100,000 a year as entrepreneurs, and their existence challenges the stereotype that illegal immigrants are a drain on the U.S. economy, according to immigration lawyers and academics.

Many say they are living the "American Dream," but almost none trumpet their achievements because they fear deportation.

One example is a 38-year-old computer engineer who overstayed his visa after arriving from Colombia in 1999. Not long after, he founded a Web design firm in Miami that specializes in e-commerce.

Today it's a fast-growing, tax-paying company that recently developed a Web platform for online radio and television that could be a breakthrough technology.

"We are at a good point now, making money," said the man, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of his immigration status. "We are growing every month because our customers are happy. They are U.S. companies making a lot of money from our Web sites."

But the man is near the end of a long administrative process that will likely lead to his deportation. Then his company would close and workers, including Americans, would be laid off.
Click here for the Full Story

Based on my experience I think 20,000 is an underestimation. I know of an undocumented family with a household income of over 100,000 a year (and yes, they do pay taxes) and another mixed status family (at least one family member is undocumented) that makes over 100,000. Not to mention the large number of former undocumented immigrants who are extremely well off now. I also wouldn't be surprised if there were a handful of millionaires tucked into the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants as well.

I'm willing to put good money on a bet that most of you know a person who is or was undocumented at some point and is well off, you just don't know it. For example, here is an example of an undocumented immigrant making $130,000 a year working for the California GOP. The best example of this can be seen in the Govenor of California, our very own Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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