April 16, 2007


Tax Returns Rise for Immigrants in U.S. Illegally (NINA BERNSTEIN, 4/16/07, NY Times)

With the tax deadline approaching, illegal immigrants are sending in federal returns in what appear to be record numbers despite fears heightened by recent immigration raids around the country.

The increase in filings comes amid talk of an immigration overhaul, with some proposals introduced in Congress linking amnesty to the payment of taxes. Many illegal immigrants showing up at tax preparation offices around the country say they hope that filing a return will create a paper trail that could lead to citizenship one day.

In Raleigh, N.C., a tax preparer found 350 immigrants waiting outside his office at 7 a.m., including one dragging a suitcase that held $14,000 in cash for back taxes. In Baltimore, a community agency offering free tax help that was deserted the day after 69 people were rounded up in immigration raids elsewhere in the city was crowded again within 24 hours.

And a help center in Queens did record business among illegal immigrants like Dionicio Quinde Lima, who has worked in construction strictly off the books since he arrived from Ecuador three years ago, but was eager to join the fold of United States taxpayers last week.

“I feel it’s my responsibility to pay,” said Mr. Lima, 39, clutching a $202 money order for the Internal Revenue Service. “And if it helps me get papers, fine. The most important would be a permit to travel back and forth to see my family.”

Nothing was more eye-opening as regards immigration than to see the paycheck stubs of fellow employees with SS taxes withheld, even though everyone knew they were "illegals" and there was no prospect of their ever collecting.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 16, 2007 8:32 AM

So, how does the IRS process their tax return when the social security number is crucial to the process - and that number is fictitious, or stolen?

I assume the IRS throws the enclosed money in the rat hole, and calls it a day. Then probably shreds the return.

Better to get those few dollars, than not get them.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at April 18, 2007 12:32 AM