Monday, February 2, 2009

Undocumenteds' Catch 22: Paying Taxes

Immigrant workers, even the undocumented, tend to pay their federal taxes faithfully, and the Internal Revenue Service welcomes those payments without prejudice to status. Now the IRS is getting nervous that the crack down on the undocumented will result in lost revenue. The attorney for Weld County, Colorado, is cooperating with the Justice Department's Operation Number Games to track those who use the Social Security numbers of others to file taxes. Those caught just don't get deported, but face jail time as well. (See New York Times article.)

The New York Times reports that Border Patrol agents in Riverside, California, are required by their regional superiors to meet a monthly quota in apprehending undocumented aliens. One agent is alleged to have been fired for not meeting his quota. The agents' union has formally protested. But if the practice exists in the Inland Empire, the suspicion is that it exists elsewhere.

Sen. Kristin Gillibrand, who was recently appointed to fill Hillary Clinton's senate seat, didn't have a very sympathetic record in the House of Representatives toward the undocumented. Under criticism from immigrant groups, she is beginning to sound conciliatory, seemingly favoring the Dream Act and being kinder to "Sanctuary cities" like NYC and San Francisco. The Latino state legislators who heard her remarks are still wary of a real change of attitude. (See New York Times article.)

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