Lou Dobbs is running around screaming that the sky is falling, telling people the tax “rebate” Congress is working to pass could mean that the government will be cutting checks to illegal immigrants. Only thing is, it doesn’t. Maybe Lou is genuinely confused, or maybe he misses the days when he was the king of the immigration debate, not sure.
Whatever the case, below is the fact sheet put out by Minority Leader John Boehner’s office on the subject.
Fact Sheet: Illegal Immigrants & Checks
- The procedures in this agreement are similar to what was done in the tax relief laws of 2001 and 2003.
- Illegal immigrants who steal or fabricate a Social Security number are NOT ELIGIBLE to receive checks under the House bill. As long as a tax return is accompanied by a valid Social Security number, the IRS has no capacity to know whether a given tax return was filed by a citizen, a legal immigrant, or an illegal immigrant. Illegal immigrants, of course, don’t have their own Social Security number, so if they file with the IRS, as the IRS believes very few do, they must take one of the following three routes, any one of which could lead to their being identified as committing fraud, and increasing the likelihood that they will be located and deported.
- They can use someone else’s stolen Social Security number. That is fraud, which the IRS attempts to identify both on a real-time basis and as part of its ongoing enforcement and program integrity efforts.
- They can fabricate a Social Security number. Tax returns accompanied by non-existent Social Security numbers should be rejected as invalid, although much of that enforcement currently occurs through on-going program integrity efforts (as opposed to identifying the error in real-time and flagging the return for further attention). Nevertheless, those who use such fabricated numbers face real risks of being identified as committing tax fraud and facing resulting penalties.
- They can obtain an ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number). ITINs, however, are not valid for work and illegal immigrants who enter the workforce generally do not attempt to use an ITIN either as proof of employability or for the purpose of filing a tax return, because an ITIN on a tax return is a clear indication it was filed by a non-citizen.