One of the amnesty carrots deceptively dangled in front of enforcement-minded Americans is the sure-to-be-broken promise that aliens will pay back taxes and a fine. Gang of Eight ringleader Chuck Schumer, a Taxation and IRS Oversight finance subcommittee member and Immigration, Refugees and Border Control Judiciary subcommittee chair, is the taxes and fees scheme leading proponent.
Schumer tops the list of amnesty advocates who are without a shred of credibility. In his 32-year congressional career, Schumer has voted for every amnesty bill as well as legislation that would increase alien entitlements and raise the cap on non-immigrant worker visas; his immigration grade is “F”.
In his Center for Immigration Studies' blog , former U.S. House of Representatives Virgil Goode reminded readers that Schumer made the same pledge in 1986 when he was in the House during the Immigration Reform and Control Act amnesty. But, after IRCA became law, Schumer argued that Congress did not intend that aliens be subject to the new tax code provisions. Said Schumer, “Obviously, we could not have a successful legalization program if by submitting an application, an alien became vulnerable to an enforcement action by the IRS.” When he was in the House, Goode called for an immigration moratorium. [Time for an Immigration Moratorium, Town Hall.Com, December 12, 2009]
Eventually, Schumer prevailed. Buried on page 187 of the 1988 Technical and Miscellaneous Revenue Act was a caveat that forbade the INS from sharing tax information submitted by IRCA applicants.
The same duplicity applies to fines. About a decade ago, the 245i amnesty imposed a $1,000 fine. For readers who forgot about 245i, it allowed aliens living illegally in the U.S. that could have been petitioned by their family if they were living abroad, to be petitioned without leaving the country, subject to a $1,000 fine. The program expired in 2001.
A Los Angeles friend who filed a petition gave me an update on the status of his relative’s supposedly mandatory fee. When the applicant first inquired to whom and where the fee should be paid, he was told that information would be given to him when the visa was issued, a period originally to be no longer than eight years. Almost immediately, the fee deadline was extended seven more years to 15. The long and short of my friend’s story is that to this day, more than a decade later, no fee has been paid. Follow ups made to the National Visa Center indicated that there was nothing in the alien’s file about fees due. The logical conclusion is that the $1,000 will never be paid.
Collecting back taxes from aliens who may have worked in the underground economy or at minimum wage jobs is impossible. They would simply say, “I don’t have the money,” their cases would be forgiven and legal status granted. Analysts on both the pro and con sides of the amnesty debate agree that collecting taxes and fees would be next to impossible. [Back Tax on Illegal Migrants Hard to Do, by Katherine Pender, San Francisco Chronicle, January 28, 2013]
If Congress were serious about taxing aliens, the only viable solution would be to collect a substantial pre-paid penalty, no exceptions. In the meantime, the important thing to remember is that promises about taxes and fees should be dismissed as blatant lies made shamelessly to promote support for an amnesty that would hurt all Americans.