Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Economy > A Lesson to be Learned from the IRS: Legal Status and Working are Two Separate Issues

A Lesson to be Learned from the IRS: Legal Status and Working are Two Separate Issues

LatinaLista — When it comes to getting the government’s fair (or unfair) share of hard-earned dollars, the Internal Revenue Service or IRS is more widely feared than the Department of Homeland Security — especially among undocumented immigrants.
How can this be, you wonder?

Elsa Forero, an immigrant from Colombia, gets tax aid from John Quing of Food Change, a nonprofit agency.
(Source: NYTimes)

Well, it’s a little known revelation that is bolstered each tax season when the IRS documents those income tax returns filed with ITIN numbers or Individual Tax Identification Numbers.
It’s the only way undocumented immigrants can file taxes.
And, yes, they are filing.

On July 26, 2006, Mark Everson, commissioner of the IRS, appeared before the House Committee on Ways and Means to testify on the impact of the immigration issue on tax administration.

We at the IRS support and appreciate the jobs being done at SSA (Social Security Administration) in maintaining and protecting the Social Security Trust Funds and at DHS (Department of Homeland Security) in enforcing our immigration laws, but our function is tax administration.
Our job is to make sure that everyone who earns income within our borders pays the proper amount of taxes, whether that income is legally obtained and whether the individual is working here legally If someone is working without authorization in this country, he/she is not absolved of tax liability. Instead of an SSN to file a tax return, that person frequently uses an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

Everson went to say that his job is to bring taxpayers into the system — regardless of their legal status.
And even though the undocumented immigrants must be afraid that they’re stepping into a federal trap, they have shown up in the past and are still showing up to pay their taxes to show that they are not the unconscientious lawbreakers some would paint them to be.
They know that any application to stay in this country, under whatever immigration reform bill is enacted in the future, will have a component that says them must show proof of having paid taxes.
For a government who is quick to label these people criminals and as undesirables and round them up as if they are terrorists, it seems pretty unfair and underhanded to demand they pay taxes as a stipulation for applying for citizenship.
According to Everson, in 2005, over 2.5 million tax returns were filed with at least one person listed on the return with an ITIN number. By July of 2006, 1.6 million new applications for ITIN numbers were issues — that was a 25% increase from the year before.
In compliance with IRS guidelines since 2004, those applying for an ITIN had to attach a tax return to establish a return filing requirement.
Everson also noted that for the tax periods 1996 to 2003, the income tax liability for ITIN filers totaled almost $50 billion.
At the time of this post, IRS media offices were closed and so a check to see if there exists any updated information on the number of ITIN returns filed in 2007 and/or the number of applications for ITINs so far for 2008 was unavailable.
Yet, for a country with critics loud and wide harking on the drain that undocumented immigrants put on this economy and the national deficit standing at $9,252,544,949,017.31, it doesn’t make sense to ignore the voluntary (and for undocumented immigrants, it is voluntary whether or not they risk coming forward to pay) effort on their part to do what is right and pay into a system that would rather criminalize and demonize them than recognize the fact that the foremost reason they are here is to work.
(Update 2/16/08 — The IRS resported to Latina Lista that there was a 266,461 increase in the number of ITIN application in 2007 from 2006. Yet as a representative from the IRS pointed out, applications don’t translate into returns. Figures were not available for 2006 or 2007 for the number of returns filed using ITIN numbers.

Related posts


  • Jax
    February 13, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    It seems to me that the IRS is doing what it is required to do. I don’t see hpw that can argued against.
    Taxes are usually collected by and submitted by employers. If they don’t submit payroll taxes collected they are breaking the law.
    Why is this so hard to grasp?
    Perhaps these illegals would be happier in their country of origin.

  • yave begnet
    February 13, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    Great post! This issue applies not just to hoped-for CIR, but also the existing immigration laws, which reward undocumented immigrants for paying taxes in many different ways–whether it’s a requirement for obtaining cancellation of removal in front of an immigration judge, or filing jointly with a U.S. citizen spouse even while out of status to prove a good faith marriage. The IRS has made it clear they just want the money and aren’t interested in turning over personal information of ITIN-holders to ICE. This is just one more manifestation of our schizophrenic approach to immigration: take what we want, give as little as possible.

  • Frank
    February 13, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    These are the kind of exaggerations that spread lies about what our immigration laws are really about and I quote this paragraph above:
    “For a government who is quick to label these people criminals and as undesirables and round them up as if they are terrorists, it seems pretty unfair and underhanded to demand they pay taxes as a stipulation for applying for citizenship.”
    For one thing they did break our immigration laws and that is a misdemeanor crime. That may or may not be the only crime that some are guilty of but the way this is worded one is lead to believe falsely that our government is insinuating that they are ALL guilty of much more serious crimes. Undesirables? Another misleading word meant to illicit sympathy for them. It isn’t about non-desirability per se but the fact that they are here illegally. “Round them up like they were terrorists”? What is that supposed to mean? I assure you we don’t treat them like we did Sadam Hussein…another exaggeration meant to illicit sympathy and demonize our immigration laws.
    Unfair to pay taxes owed? Eh?
    You know I get accused of lying in here all the time by certain individuals and yet look at the white lies and half truths in that paragraph alone. The pro-illegals are the biggest truth spinners there are. Hypocricy at it’s finest.

  • Frank
    February 13, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    In response to the last paragraph. It doesn’t matter if some are only here to work. They aren’t entitled to work here unless they come to this country legally. Paying taxes doesn’t nullify the fact they they broke the law. Nor is it justification for an amnesty. If they paid income taxes it was because they had to, not out of the goodness of their hearts. It automatically is deducted from everyone’s paycheck when ones uses a fraudulent or real SS number.

  • Honey
    February 13, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    They don’t file their returns to pay taxes. They file returns to get the earned income credit. Just more freebies from the gov that they are not entitled to.

  • Marisa Treviño
    February 14, 2008 at 7:36 am

    Honey, undocumented immigrants aren’t eligible for earned income credit because a person needs a valid social security number.
    You can say that they already are working with false social security cards and that is probably true but when it comes to scamming the government, most of those illegally here see that applying for such a benefit is more of a death/deportation wish than actually working and living their lives below the radar of the government.
    Check out the link for the requirements and what it entails to get that earned income tax credit:

  • Texano78704
    February 14, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Wow, two lies in the space of a couple of hours. The hate klan is working overtime (and late).
    Here’s the other lie, that hasn’t already been pointed out:
    “For one thing they did break our immigration laws and that is a misdemeanor crime.”
    It isn’t a crime, misdemeanor or otherwise. It is a civil offense, like a parking ticket.

  • Frank
    February 14, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    A civil offense is still a crime. Entering our country illegally is a lot more serious than a parking ticket by anyone’s common sense. Seems like the ethnocentrics are trying to minimize our immigration laws as if they were nothing.
    Why do you have to use references to the “Klan”? Can’t you debate civilly without insults?

  • Evelyn
    February 14, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Social Sciences Research Network
    Taxing Undocumented Immigrants:
    Separate, Unequal and Without Representation
    Francine J. Lipman
    Americans believe that undocumented immigrants are exploiting the United States’ economy. The widespread belief is that illegal aliens cost more in government services then they contribute to the economy. This belief is undeniably false. Every empirical study of illegals’ economic impact demonstrates the opposite……undocumented actually contribute MORE to public coffers in taxes than they cost in social services. Moreover, undocumented immigrants contribute to the U.S. economy through their investments and consumption of goods and services; filling of millions of essential worker positions resulting in subsidiary job creation, increased productivity and lower cost of goods and services; and unrequited contributions to Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance programs. Eighty-five percent of eminent economists surveyed have concluded that undocumented immigrants have had a POSITIVE (seventy-four percent) or neutral (eleven percent) impact on the U.S. economy.
    Undocumented immigrants, like all U.S. citizens and residents, are required to pay taxes. Despite the historic and strong American opposition to TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION, undocumented immigrants (except in rear and unusual cases) have not enjoyed the right to vote on any local, state or federal tax or other matter for almost eighty years.
    Nevertheless, each year undocumented immigrants add billions of dollars in sales, excise, property, income and payroll taxes, including Social Security, Medicare and unemployment taxes, to federal, state and local coffers. Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants go out to file annual federal and state income tax returns.
    Yet undocumented immigrants are barred from almost all government benifits, including food stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, federal housing programs, Social Security, Medicare, and earned income tax credit (EITC). Generally, the only benefits federally required for undocumented immigrants are emergency medical care, subject to financial and category eligibility, and elementary and secondary public education. Many undocumented immigrants will not even access these few critical government services because of their ever present fear of government officials and deportation.
    Undocumented immigrants living in the United States are subject to the same tax laws as documented immigrants and U.S. citizens. However, because of their status most unauthorized workers pay a higher effective tax rate than similarly situated documented or U.S. citizens. Yet, these workers and their families use fewer government services than similarly situated documented immigrants or U.S. citizens. Moreover, unauthorized workers have been denied remedies by the U.S. Supreme Court under the National Labor Relations Act and may be challenged to receive protection under wage and hour, anti-discrimination and workers’ and compensation laws. As a result, undocumented immigrants provide a fiscal windfall and may be the most fiscally beneficial of all immigrants.
    Despite their net positive contributions to public coffers, hundreds of thousands of immigrants enter the U.S. each year without documents because of impracticable quota and labor certification requirements. These immigration restrictions combined with the additional tax or tariff on undocumented immigrants and are inconsistent with economically efficient immigration policy. Moreover, the high effective tax rate imposed on the poorest undocumented working families relative to their less unfortunate friends and neighbors is inconsistent with fundamental tax policy. This Article describes and analyzes the separate, unequal and unrepresented federal taxation of undocumented immigrants.

  • Horace
    February 14, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    “….it seems pretty unfair and underhanded to demand they pay taxes as a stipulation for applying for citizenship.”
    Why is that? Every citizen is required to pay his taxes. Illegal immigrants are special because they’ve decided to violate out laws? I don’t think so, and I don’t think many citizens would agree with you. It’s the least effort of contrition for not only violating our immigration laws, but our revenue laws as well. A foreigner living under the wonderful culture of Mexico would be horribly abused by its legal system if he failed to pay his share to the national treasury. Let’s not be hypocritical.
    These people are lucky that our government doesn’t pass a law to confiscate their ill gotten gains. And don’t think that these people are permanently safe from the IRS turning in their names and addresses to the DHS. A future Congress could mandate this in the future.
    The argument concerning magnitude of the crime is moot Texano. How many parking tickets does it take to get deported? The reason it’s only a misdemeanor is that the feds would be obligated to provide free legal council to these people during due process hearings. At the rate these people are coming, it would cost the taxpayers billions of dollars to do so. As a taxpayer, I’m glad that it’s easy to give them the boot.
    If we’re the KKK because we disagree with your appoach to illegal immigration, you are undoubtedly a fifth columnist working for Mexico, Texano.
    By the way, Oregon and perhaps Utah will be denying driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. Michigan, Oklahoma, Arizona, Tennesee, Georgia, and New York have already done so. Alabama will no doubt be added to the list soon.

  • Horace
    February 14, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    “Despite the historic and strong American opposition to TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION, undocumented immigrants (except in rear and unusual cases) have not enjoyed the right to vote on any local, state or federal tax or other matter for almost eighty years.”
    Try to find a country in which illegal aliens are entititled to vote. You won’t find one. Even that notoriously corrupt and endearing country called Mexico doesn’t permit their’s to do so. Let’s not be hypocritical here. Unless you’re 18 years old you can’t vote in this country, even though you are a citizen. Convicted felons can’t vote either.
    To even suggest that we’d enfranchise illegal immigrants with the right to vote is truly funny. LOL, LOL. Are you running for the office of village idiot, Evelyn?

  • yave begnet
    February 15, 2008 at 6:39 am

    A civil offense is definitionally not a crime. That is what “civil offense” means: Not a Crime.
    However, I believe entering the country without inspection by a border official is a misdemeanor. Overstaying a visa is a civil offense (once again, that means “not a crime”).

  • Frank
    February 15, 2008 at 9:36 am

    yave, what difference do word games make? It is against federal law to enter this country illegally. Subject to deportation if caught. Are you going to deny that?

  • Texano78704
    February 15, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Well, this is the first time I have ever heard a day’s wages for a day’s work called “ill gotten gains.”
    But then again, I do hear from the paid trolls that a worker, in certain cases does not deserved to be paid his wages. I think it is called the “sub-species theory” of labor compensation.
    “If we’re the KKK because we disagree with your appoach to illegal immigration, you are undoubtedly a fifth columnist working for Mexico, Texano.”
    As if you could even articulate what my “appoach” was. Apparently the concept of human rights does not exist for some, much less natural law. And there would be no reason for me to articulate my concept of justice or common decency to those that espouse amorality when it comes to a particular group of human beings.
    It is very telling that you would suggest that I am a “fifth columnist working for Mexico.” It really is about cultural supremacy for you, isn’t it, Horace?

  • Horace
    February 15, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Texicano, you’re the one advocating cultural superiority, after all, you don’t believe that immigration law is applicable to Hispanics. You ARE a witting or unwitting fifth columnist for Mexico. If we had a war with Mexico, whose side would you be on?
    If a worker isn’t entitled to employment, it stands to reason that he isn’t entitled to being paid. Jobs in this country are reserved to citizens or legal residents. Just as the mafia personnel aren’t entitled to profit from their illegal activity, illegal aliens shouldn’t be entitled to a pay check. Or do you also advocate that the criminal element of our society should be paid for harming the public? After all, a day’s wages for a day’s work is your position. And don’t give me that crap about a honest day’s work, because they are being less than forthright about their right to work. Remember that every illegal alien has to commit a felony by way of fraud, to obtain a job. He’s either stole someone’s identity or commissioned a false document to obtain it. Don’t like that Catch 22 do you? It’s one of those inconvenient truths that you fifth columnists omit when lamenting that your saintly illegal aliens are being persecuted.

  • Evelyn
    February 15, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    Because I did not participate in the research on illegal immigrants, or compile those findings into the article you read, I must give that honor to the proper scholars.
    Robert R. McCormick Distinguished Service Professor of Finance, Advisory Editor of the Journal of Financial Economics, and Chairman of Social Science Electronic Publishing
    Charles J. Meyers Professor of Law and Business, Stanford and Mark and Eva stern Professor of Law and Business, Columbia University School of Law
    Professor J. Richard Hackman Cahners-Rabb Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology, Harvard University
    Professor William F. Sharpe The STANCO 25 Professor of Finance, Graduate School of Business, Stanford Business School, Past President of the American Finance Association, 1990 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences
    Professor Hal Varian Dean of the School of Information Management and Systems at the University of California at Berkley, Professor of Economic in Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley
    If you feel that your opinion might be taken into consideration by these distinguished scholars, please feel free to contact them.
    Make sure you include a copy of your credentials and the area of your expertise. However, I suggest you not show your ignorance by suggesting these scholars “not be hypocritical,” and please don’t inquire if they would be interested in your job as “VILLAGE IDIOT.” That may sway there opinion to take you seriously, against you.
    I am sure our next president may be seeking their expertise and advise on immigrants in his efforts to restore proper immigration laws.
    Your job as village idiot is safe, believe me no one is seeking that post. If they were I would be the first to let you know.
    O, before I close, I want to inquire how your efforts to find a wife are going. I saw something that would meet all of your requirements the other day, rolls of fat and ugly warts included. She would have made your momma proud. People would have probably mistaken them for sisters. Too bad I couldn’t catch her, some dogs are very fast. I’m sure you don’t mind she had four paws, you know the saying, “the more the better” or something like that.

  • Evelyn
    February 15, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    I hope you don’t mind mind, I used the Spanish rendition of your user name.
    On the subject of Horace and cultural supremacy, I sure am glad you set me straight. Thanks! I always thought it was about Horace trying really really hard to show his ignorance.

  • Texano78704
    February 16, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    I think you answered my question quite satisfactorily, Horace. But you certainly are not the only paid poster here that espouses cultural supremacy.
    Please point out where I have advocated a position that would solely benefit Hispanics? Why would thate make me a “fifth columnist” for México, instead of one of a dozen other Spanish speaking countries?
    I have never made such a specific suggestion. And I would be foolish to do so considering that 45% of the undocumented workers in this entered this country by some means other than crossing the border between the US and México. That means there a lot of undocumented workers that do not speak Spanish.
    But, as we all know, your beef isn’t with those foreign workers from countries other than México.
    “Remember that every illegal alien has to commit a felony by way of fraud, to obtain a job. He’s either stole someone’s identity or commissioned a false document to obtain it.”
    Wow, you really like to make stuff up, Horace. But that is par for the course, for extemists.
    Undocumented workers do not need false documents to get day work where they get paid on a cash basis. They do not need false documents to apply for an ITIN from the IRS. The “lawbreaker” in most cases will be the employer, not the employee. That’s the inconvenient truth that is omitted.

  • Frank
    February 16, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Texano, A real American would want ALL illegal aliens removed from our country, whether they crossed our border on foot or they are visa overstayers. That certainly is my position on the issue.
    Are you denying that at least some illegal aliens use fake I.D.’s and SS numbers to gain employment? What about the meat packing plants, etc. Those workers didn’t get paid cash they were paid by check. Yes, the employers are to blame too but many of those fake docs look pretty authentic. That is why I am in favor of the SAVE ACT. A biometric, tamper proof I.D. card will be issued to every American and it will be mandatory for employers to check the authencity of their employees. Do you have a problem with that? Visa overstayers are also working illegally in this country and should be fired.
    The last stats I saw on illegal aliens vs visa overstayers was 60% in the first catagory and 40% in the second catagory. Out of the 60% catagory the majority are Mexican/Hispanic illegals and it is mostly Hispanics are who are up arms over us enforcing our immigration laws. Is it any wonder that Horace and other anti’s accuse them of advocating their culteral supremisy based on the above?

  • Horace
    February 16, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    “Undocumented workers do not need false documents to get day work where they get paid on a cash basis.”
    Far more are employed by companies and are not day laborers, and thus require SSNs. You’re rationalizing, Texicano, and not doing a very good job at it. Those people that ICE is rounding up at big factories around the nation are in many cases discovered because someone has reported them for identity theft, the use of false documents with other peoples’ names on them. And your statement isn’t backed up by what immigration authorities and our police departments are saying. Get real, Texicano, because no one really believes your silly assertions. Chime in any time you feel Frank, Jax, et al. LOL.

  • Evelyn
    February 16, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    What happened Horace, cat got your tongue? First you were out their like Chicken Little shouting about some conspiracy theory involving Tejano and something about 5th columnist. Oh OUU OHHH the sky is falling, the sky is falling, he’s gonna bring it down, he’s plotting and planing. LOL! Dang you’re funny. Do you dream about “aliens” too?
    Now you’re calling for Frank or Jax to rescue you. Ha! Ha!
    Say you never did get back to me about your wife hunting escapades. Make sure you take a rifle, she probably wont wanna go with you alive. LOL!

  • Texano78704
    February 17, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    “Are you denying that at least some illegal aliens use fake I.D.’s and SS numbers to gain employment?”
    “Far more are employed by companies and are not day laborers, and thus require SSNs.”
    I am not denying the existence of fake documentation, nor am I suggesting that undocumented workers only work as jornaleros. What I am saying is that the presumption on your part that undocumented workers are committing all manner of criminal infractions so that they can work is probably far less than what you both assert it is.
    From both your statements, it is abundantly clear that many employers, in an effort to fill their low paying positions, pretty much look the other way. And I am sure that is true in the majority of the cases. They want cheap labor and if they can get away with doing the minimum to identify workers, they will.
    “…and it is mostly Hispanics are who are up arms over us enforcing our immigration laws.’
    Really? And where are the “stats” for that?

  • Horace
    February 17, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    I guess that you’re the only one for me, Evelyn. If must be your loving personality that wins me over. Now, how about that date you promised?

  • Frank
    February 18, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Texano, I have never denied that the employers are not checking the validity of these illegals documents when they hire them. They are both guilty. The illegals for using them and the employers for not checking them. That is why we need the SAVE ACT to pass. It will make it mandatory for the employers to check these documents and comply.
    What ethnic group made up “most” of the marchers last year? What ethnic group has to be pandered to by being soft on illegal immigration? Most of the immigration blogs and forums on the pro-amnesty side are run by Hispanics. The NCLR and other Hispanic organizations are pushing amnesty for illegls. Come on, Texano why would you even ask for stats on which ethnic group is pushing legalization or amnesty for illegal aliens. What ethnic group is complaining about the raids and enforcement of our immigration laws? The stats are everywhere in plain sight.

  • Horace
    February 18, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Forget it, Frank, Texicano is in denial of reality and lives in a world of his own imagination. Time again we hear from police and immigration authorities that illegal immigrants are often caught with fake documents, and in many cases with the same photo but with different names. Next, Texicano will claim that the name changes were all done as the result of applications to our courts. I must say that Texicano is a bit different from most amnestas, in that they’ll at least admit to the fact of commonplace fraud and identity theft and then rationalize that the government forced them to commit those felonies, thus justifying it.

  • Texano78704
    February 18, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    “What ethnic group made up “most” of the marchers last year? What ethnic group has to be pandered to by being soft on illegal immigration?”
    It is hard to tell here who changes their argument more often, Frank or Horace. Now if you want the issue to be “Hispanics are up in trying to get amnesty for only “Hispanic” undocumented workers, just say so. And I suspect that may be the case.
    The reality of the situation is that the majority of the US citizens in this country are for some form of amnesty for all undocumented workers. Try that reality.

  • Frank
    February 18, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Texano, I never said that Hispanics are pushing for amnesty for only the illegal Hispanics because it has to be a package deal anyway. But they would be the ones who would most benefit from an amnesty because the most of the illegals are Hispanics. Duh!

  • Frank
    February 18, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Your “reality” is only a dream, Texano. The majority of Americans do not feel the way you say they do about any form of amnesty.

  • Horace
    February 18, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    “The reality of the situation is that the majority of the US citizens in this country are for some form of amnesty for all undocumented workers. Try that reality.’
    Sure Texicano, that’s why Utah is about to withdraw driving privileges from illegal aliens, as have Oregon, Tennessee, Arizona, Oklahoma, Hawaii. Indiana, New York (remember Hillary’s flip flop) and Texas et al are also considering sanctions on illegal immigrants. Look forward to almost every state in the union, except Mexifornia enacting some legislation countervailing illegal immigration. The numbers of states in the process of making life difficult for illegal immigrants grows everyday, and there is little grass roots opposition to doing so. We hear futilely weak opposition from the squeaky advocacy groups, but that’s all. If your assertion that people are in favor of amnesty for illegal immigrants were true, the states wouldn’t be so quick in denying them their transportation needs and opportunities for employment. How many illegal immigrants will there be around to get a federal amnesty when they can’t drive and work in this country during the years intervening between a Democratic intiative and an actual change to the immigration laws? The answer is, very few. Waiting it out is not an option, so it’s back to the hacienda.
    You’re being deceived. When confronted by the pollsters, the public says one thing and does another for fear of appearing politically incorrect. Dream on Texicano.
    My reality actually has some concrete evidence supporting it. Yours is just empty rhetoric.

  • Texano78704
    February 19, 2008 at 11:08 am

    “My reality actually has some concrete evidence supporting it. Yours is just empty rhetoric.”
    Prove it Horace, prove I’m wrong. Post a link to an unbiased national poll on the subject, rather than some random anecdotal evidence. Same challenge goes to you, Frank.

  • Frank
    February 19, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Why hasn’t congress passed CIR then if it is only the minority of citizens who object to it? They didn’t pass it because they knew where the majority of citizens stood on it.

  • Horace
    February 19, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    This is an example of my reality. Its far more substantive than any poll, and it carries force of law, is supported overwhelmingly by the will of the people, and is only the first domino to fall in a long chain of many:
    February 19, 2008 – 3:08PM
    Judge refuses to block employer sanctions law
    Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
    A federal judge on Tuesday refused to block prosecutors from enforcing Arizona’s employer sanctions law while foes ask the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn it.
    Judge Neil Wake, who earlier this month ruled the statute is valid, said the potential hardships on employers and others forced to follow the law is “minimal.” He said there is only a small cost for companies to obtain the necessary equipment to run computer checks on the legal status of new workers.
    Wake said putting the law on “hold” could financially damage the state.
    In his Tuesday ruling, the judge cited a study commissioned by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office by George Borjas, a professor of economic and social policy at Harvard University, which showed legal Arizona workers lose $1.4 billion a year because companies hire undocumented employees at lower costs.
    And Wake specifically rejected other studies proffered by employers challenging the law. That includes one by Judith Gans, immigration policy program manager at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the University of Arizona, which said the costs of illegal immigration are offset by the benefits.
    Wake said such comparisons are inappropriate.
    “The benefits in fact to those who come to this country against the law to make better lives for themselves, to those who save from lower cost labor and general depression of wages from employing unauthorized aliens, and to those who enjoy the products of unauthorized labor at lower prices, do not count,” Wake wrote.
    He said both Congress and the Legislature have specifically said that the interests of those who are entitled to work here legally trump any benefits to those whose finances are improved by illegal immigration.
    Tuesday’s decision is not the last word: Attorneys for opponents of the law still hope the appeallate court will bar enforcement while they consider the challenge.
    But time may be running out.
    County attorneys agreed not to prosecute any firm for violating the law until at least March 1. That was designed to give Wake a chance to rule on the lawsuit.
    But at this point there is no such commitment by any prosecutor to not go after employers while an appeal is being pursued.
    The law, known as the Legal Arizona Workers Act, requires firms to use the federal government’s E-Verify system to check whether new employees are legally entitled to work in this country.
    But the real teeth are in provisions which allow a judge to suspend any firm’s licenses to do business for up to 10 days if they are found to have knowingly hired an undocumented worker. A second offense within three years revokes all licenses.
    Various business groups contend the statute is an unconstitutional infringement on the sole power of the federal government to regulate immigration. That challenge has been joined by some community groups who contend the law would result in discrimination against minorities as companies refuse to hire anyone who might not be a legal U.S. resident.
    Wake threw out all the challenges earlier this month. That resulted in the appeal — and the plea to Wake to keep anyone from being prosecuted in the interim.
    The part of the bill requiring use of E-Verify, however, has remained in effect, though the law contains no penalty for companies that refuse to use the system.
    Wake said anyone seeking an injunction generally must show they are likely to prevail on appeal as well as some irreparable harm if the stay is not granted. He said the challengers failed on both grounds.
    He pointed out that Congress specifically allowed states to revoke licenses of firms that hire undocumented workers. And he said the costs to the average employer for complying are a $125 one-time set-up fee and $728 a year in maintenance of the system.
    And Wake noted that firms which use the system “will be virtually immune” from being prosecuted under the Arizona law.

  • Texano78704
    February 20, 2008 at 8:53 am

    I see Horace couldn’t fulfill a simple request. See, I knew you were astro-turfing!

  • Me2
    March 25, 2008 at 7:21 am

    Jeez, Texano. You must have your head where the sun don’t shine. Here in the U.S. the LEGAL citizens are now demanding an end to the financial drain on our economy that the ILLEGAL ALIENS are causing.
    Can’t see that can you? Then read more forums, newspapers, etc., so you can become enlightned.
    Read how the States are now in the process of trying to NOT pay out for ILLEGAL ALIENS.
    And one more thing: they are in fact ILLEGAL ALIENS.

Comments are closed.