How Dante Would View Illegals and Income Tax Violators

By David North, February 12, 2013

Even the advocates of a massive amnesty admit that millions of illegal aliens are also income tax violators. They routinely argue that legalizing them would produce millions of additional tax payers in the future.

If we have an amnesty, which I think is a bad idea, I would prefer that only aliens with clean tax-paying (as well as criminal) records should be considered for legalization.

But, as usual in both immigration and tax matters, there are important nuances in this situation, just as Dante found significant variations in Hell. The table that follows illustrates these earthly nuances.

My sense is that only a small minority of the illegals, those who have stayed in classes A and B consistently since their arrival in the United States, should be considered for any amnesty.

The Illegal Alien/Income Taxpayer Spectrum

Tax Filing Situation Legal Status
A. Illegal files appropriate forms with IRS and illegal's employer pays FICA Both actively correct1
B. Illegal earns less than $3,800, employer pays FICA, illegal does not file with IRS Both correct, illegal passively so
C. Illegal earns more than $3,800, employer pays FICA, illegal does not file with IRS Employer correct, illegal actively incorrect
D. Illegal earns more than $3,800, employer does not pay FICA, illegal does not file with IRS Both are actively incorrect
E. Whether employer pays FICA or not, illegal files using 1040 form inappropriately, perhaps gaining illicit refunds2 Illegal is actively incorrect and is lying to the government about his or her length of stay in the United States
1 For the sake of simplicity, this table ignores the variable of whether or not the illegal alien is using a legitimate Social Security number; many filing otherwise appropriately with IRS are doing so with a lawlessly obtained SSN.
2 During their first five years in the United States, aliens are supposed to file the IRS form 1040NR, which is less generous to taxpayers generally than the form 1040 filed by citizens, green card holders, and long-term aliens.