Greensboro, NC - Fifty people marched through downtown Greensboro on Aug. 27, past the offices of the Internal Revenue Service, to protest the federal policy of ‘tax and deport.’
The protest aimed to pressure North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan to adopt a progressive line on immigrant rights and to raise awareness about the realities that undocumented immigrants face.
One of the common myths about undocumented immigrants is that they do not pay taxes. But this isn't true, said protest organizer Viridiana Martinez as she held up her IRS-issued Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN). "We pay taxes, they issue us ITIN numbers. Each year $7 billion goes to Social Security benefits that we never get back."
"No taxation without representation"
Domenic Powell, a member of the NC DREAM Team and an organizer of the protest, said, "The tax and deport policy is a crime. We're here to say no taxation without representation."
A press release from the NC DREAM Team, which organized the protest along with other groups, noted, "Since 1996, the Internal Revenue Service has issued over 11 million ITINs, most of which have gone to undocumented immigrants."
The statement also noted, "Recently, members of the North Carolina DREAM Team confronted Senator Kay Hagan about her vow to ‘protect taxpayers’ - which includes undocumented immigrants. Her response was that she only meant ‘legal taxpayers.’” The statement continued, “We are asserting that there is nothing illegal about paying taxes and our elected representatives have a responsibility to defend all of their constituents.”
Community mobilizes for immigrant justice
A number of organizations mobilized for the protest, including the Cakalak Thunder, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, Faith Action International House, NC Justice Center, and the Beloved Community Center. The Almighty Latin Kings and Queens Nation (ALKQN) helped provide security for the protesters and mobilized members of the community to the march.
"This is an important issue and we're here to secure our people," King Jay of the ALKQN told Fight Back!. "We are going to put ourselves on the front line."
King Jay continued, "We're here to stand for the Latino community. We've been out here struggling against 287(g), SB1070. Black people were brought here in shackles, now they are deporting Latinos in shackles. We won't allow the system to oppress us and keep us divided from our Black brothers and sisters."
The demonstrators closed the rally by vowing to continue the struggle for passage of the DREAM Act and to achieve justice for all immigrant workers and communities.