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Uncle Sam is helping illegal immigrants more than our brave troops

OpinionUncle Sam is helping illegal immigrants more than our brave troops

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New York City Mayor Eric Adams plans to pilot prepaid debit cards to 500 illegal migrant families who have already received a voucher to stay in select hotels for 28 days — credit cards which can be used at illegal migrants’ leisure for up to $10,000 each in taxpayer money with no ID check and no fraud control.  

Those who violate the program’s stipulations “risk” being removed from it, but not from the country. The cost of caring for illegal migrants in New York is estimated to reach $12 billion over the next three years.  

Then there is the American service member — who not only obeys the rule of law but puts his or her life on the line to protect it and our way of life. How is it that in New York, illegal migrants receive better compensation than American service members do while deployed overseas?  

DHS’ FAILURE TO FILE PAPERWORK HAS LED TO 200K IMMIGRATION COURT CASES TOSSED UNDER PRESIDENT BIDEN: TRAC

While on the Korean Response Force, Captain Christopher Wilson wrote a letter to Congress on behalf of his soldiers. He noted that several soldiers in his company were making less while deployed than while serving stateside. He rightly called this discrepancy “unacceptable.” 

Migrants in El Paso, Texas

A group of over 100 migrants attempting to enter the US illegally rush a border wall Thursday, March 21, 2024. In the process the migrants knock down Texas National Guardsmen before they are halted  by the border wall. (James Breeden for New York Post/Mega)

The Military Times reported that in Wilson’s company, enlisted soldiers always receive $452.56 a month in basic allowance for sustenance. While deployed, however, those soldiers suffered $399.90 in monthly meal deductions, even if they don’t use base dining halls. The only entitlement for the deployment itself which off-set this deduction was $195 a month of assignment incentive pay.  

The current system results in more than $200 lost each month for each deployed soldier and their family. While soldiers with dependents receive an additional $250 per month in family separation allowance, this does not begin to compensate for the actual additional childcare costs of one-parent households. 

This means that these soldiers each received about $1,860 less cumulatively during a nine-month deployment than they would have had they not deployed over the same nine months. To add insult to injury, if inflation continues on its current trajectory, the problem will only get worse.

Meanwhile, in New York, illegal migrants are about to be given prepaid debit cards — each person receiving about $360 monthly — which for a family of four would be roughly $1,440 per month. Thus, while an average military family is suffering from a deficit of $1,860 over a period of nine months, a similarly sized illegal migrant family is being given nearly seven times more by virtue of illegally occupying the country. 

As Wilson’s letter highlights: 

“The fact that some of our Soldiers are paying more while deployed is not even the worst hole in the current system which requires a presidential declaration to enable the tax exclusion. Because Somalia was not declared a combat zone in 1993 [which means the American Soldiers deployed there did not qualify for the Combat Zone Tax Exclusion (CZTE)], the 43 Soldiers that paid the ultimate sacrifice during Operation Restore Hope (Black Hawk Down) were also forced to posthumously pay income tax on every cent they made with their dying breath.” 

Rather than the tax exclusion being dictated by a presidential declaration of an area as a “combat zone,” it should apply whenever a soldier is deployed.  

This issue was recently brought before the House Armed Services Committee by California Republican Rep. Mike Garcia. Garcia cited him directly, stating that when service members deploy, they lose some of their food subsidies. Garcia went on to say that this is both a financial concern for our service members and a retention concern for the force at-large — and therefore a national security concern. 

Migrants sleeping

The Denver city government’s handling of the illegal immigrant crisis has caused much consternation for local residents.  (Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

Before states can pass new legislation to support illegal migrants, Congress should update outdated legislation in support of our troops.  

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Congress should adjust the current tax exclusion into a “Deployment Income” tax exclusion (DITE) for any service members on an overseas tour of duty.  

On Wilson’s deployment, the average sergeant with a spouse and children received an additional $45 a month once all deductions and entitlements were aggregated. Forty-five dollars a month is nowhere near enough to cover even one day’s average childcare costs. 

Meanwhile, in New York, illegal migrants are about to be given prepaid debit cards — each person receiving about $360 monthly — which for a family of four would be roughly $1,440 per month. Thus, while an average military family is suffering from a deficit of $1,860 over a period of nine months, a similarly sized illegal migrant family is being given nearly seven times more by virtue of illegally occupying the country. 

If the tax exclusion were reformed, the average sergeant would retain $724 more each month — enough to cover 21 hours of childcare monthly in his or her absence.  

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DITE would exempt the less than 0.1% of Americans currently serving on overseas deployments or rotations. Considering the U.S. averages over $100 billion dollars in increased tax revenue year-over-year and because this is a tax exclusion and not a revenue allotment, it would not even require an enumerated allocation in the next National Defense Authorization Act.  

Unlike the illegal migrants that disregard our laws, our soldiers put their lives on the line protecting them. Our military is shrinking, and it is no wonder. Unless we take care of them, we will find ourselves with no one to take care of us.  

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