Amnesty proponents claim the Senate’s “comprehensive immigration reform” bill does not grant illegal immigrants “amnesty” because illegal immigrants will have to learn English, pay fines, pass background checks, pay back taxes, and go to the back of the line.
Jon Feere, a legal analyst at the Center for Immigration studies, though, contends that illegal immigrants may be able to avoid all of these requirements given how the bill is written.
Writing in the Christian Science Monitor, Feere analyzes how illegal immigrants may be able to avoid each of these requirements.
1. Illegal immigrants may not have to pay back taxes
Feere writes that the bill actually “does not contain a requirement that illegal immigrants pay back taxes for the many years they have been working off the books.”
“The only requirement in the bill is that illegal immigrants must iron out any existing problems they may have with the IRS,” he notes. “If the IRS has ever audited the illegal immigrant and requested payment of unpaid taxes, they would be required to pay them before receiving amnesty.”
Feere writes that the IRS cannot audit the “45 percent of illegal immigrants estimated to be working off the books” and the number of illegal immigrants who have been audited is also small because the IRS only audits one percent of all taxpayers.
He concludes, “the current tax provision in the bill will not be of any consequence to the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants who apply for the amnesty,” and the bill would also not even “require employers of illegal immigrants to pay FICA taxes for the years they paid illegal immigrants under the table.”
2. Illegal immigrants may not even have to learn English
Feere writes that it is unlikely that illegal immigrants will be denied amnesty for failing the English requirement if history is any indication. In 1986, the INS, according to Feere, waived the English requirement for certain age groups and also decided “completing 40 hours of an English/civics program met the amnesty’s requirements.”
He concludes there will be similar ways for illegal immigrants to get around the English requirement.
3. The Department of Homeland Security cannot administer accurate background checks
As many other analysts have suggested, the federal government cannot vet every illegal immigrant who applies for amnesty. Rosemary Jenks, of Numbers USA, told Breitbart News the amnesty bill could give potential terrorists new identities. Feere also notes that “history suggests that the government does not have the capacity to carefully vet those who apply for amnesty.”
He further observes that under the current Senate bill, crimes like identity theft and “two misdemeanors on an applicant’s rap sheet do not result in legal status being denied,” and “multiple misdemeanors could be counted as ‘one’ strike, provided they occur on the same day.” In addition, if the illegal immigrant has a criminal record in a foreign country, it is likely to go unnoticed. In other words, the federal government, in most cases, will essentially have to take the word of those applying for amnesty that they pose no threat and do no have criminal records.
4. Most illegal immigrants will not have to pay fines
Feere observes the Senate bill gives the Secretary of Homeland Security the power to limit or waive the fees illegal immigrants will be required to pay by exempting “classes of individuals” from paying any fees.
He also notes that if an illegal immigrant is on welfare–like 71% of illegal immigrants, according to estimates–the amnesty applicant will probably qualify for all fee waivers.
Furthermore, the bill even “grants non-profit groups $150 million” in taxpayer dollars “to help illegal immigrants” with administrative costs.
5. Illegal immigrants will not even have to go to the “back of the line”
According to Feere, most illegal immigrants who claim to be eligible for this amnesty will be allowed to stay in the country and will be given time to apply because “those approved for provisional legal status under the amnesty” will be “immediately entitled to a work permit, a Social Security account, travel documents, drivers’ licenses, many federal public benefits, and many additional state-level benefits.”
In fact, he notes that those who get “legal status through the amnesty are in a much better position compared to those overseas who have applied to come to the US legally.” Feere also concludes the amnesty will also be “sending the message around the world that illegal entry is a legitimate path to US citizenship,” as the U.S. Border Patrol chief recently implied in his testimony before Congress.