Can I Be “Punished” Too?

We’ve all heard it a million times. Putting millions of illegal aliens on “a pathway to citizenship” isn’t amnesty because they are going to have to endure some punishment for having broken the law, like paying back taxes (which they were supposed to have been paying anyway).

Which kind of begs the question, Back taxes on what? How do you document the earnings of people who have been working in the underground economy, or who have been using a variety of aliases and bogus or stolen Social Security numbers? Is the IRS just going to accept the word of millions of people who violated our immigration laws and countless other laws about how much they earned?

If that is how it is going to work, how can the rest of us sign up for the same punishment?

And one more question: If, based on the self-reported income the illegal aliens provide to the IRS, they meet the qualifications for the Earned Income Tax Credit and other tax credits will we end up owing them money?

About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. avatar

    There are over 12 million Americans out of work and 56 million on food stamps. Why should 11m. illegal foreign nationals get work permits and vie for our jobs. ? The Gov. refuses to enforce imm.-across the border and especially those who fly in and never go home. We need to demand that Gov. uphold it’s Constitutional duty . If we no longer have a Cons. or Bill of Rights -then tell Congress that they can no longer collect taxes because they broke their contract with WE THE PEOPLE. I guess it will be up to the 11-20m. ills. to pay off Obama’s $16 TRILLION debt.

  2. avatar

    The Constitution demands a uniform law of immigration-therefor illegals need to abide by the exact same rules as legal imm. (even Obama likes to say everybody should play by the same rules.) It is not about taxes, how hard a worker you are, and especially that you were brought here as a child because parents are responsible for their actions and children belong to their parents not to the Government . Any form or pathway to citizenship with 2 sets of laws further shreds the rule of law- OUR CONSTUTION which we are fighting for full restoration. Allowing ill. and Obama to help destroy are rights and laws any further is reprehensible. Everybody needs to abide by the same laws-especially Obama. He is lawless and thinks he is above the Constitution. Repatriating whole families to the country of their origen is the most humane thing to do. Please just say thank you for the time you spent here and go home until it is your turn to enter.

  3. avatar

    Like I trust the government to enforce new propose immigration law….pay back taxes….learn English….and get in back of the line….yeah right

    1986 amnesty they never enforced anything…..27 years later 12 MILLIONS illegals…..I rest my case

    Per illegal person comment…..WE ALL WORK HARD

    I complain to my representatives all the time about the no good American life-time welfare people and illegals stealing BILLIONS of tax money.

    Go back to your own country and demand a better life.

    • avatar

      Excuse jeanne,you wrong,and deep wrong,in 1986 was different from today,some American work hard,but not all,more American abuse a Welfare and a system,see portorrican,blacks and whites super abuse a welfare and money get from Fed use for drug,before offend any one see and inform yourself.I was one of 1986,never ask to Gov,nothing until became sick when I was 56 years old,My first wife is still working.I am againt illegals and Dems,but don’t lie and became alike lier Dems,see all Portorrican 90% and black are abuser a system and live from a Gov,and now are much more abuser thank to Nobama.And what you calling working hard,I not agree with you,working ligth,be in a Union and demanding paid salaries who don’t deserve and in some time destroy a economy.

  4. avatar

    well all of you are complainnig about this illegal aliens if they get there residency . their gonna be able to get tax credit ,but what yuo dont see its that they work hard all year long .even saturdays and sundays, some of them have two jobs just to deal with their billS to BUY food .they work in the sun .the cold .the hot kitchen in that restaurant where you cant see them, they work cleaning your toilets ahha but you dont complaint about that right.i know. If you go to the food stamps office plz go and i want you to se how many inmigrants people you see its most american citizens figthing for more foods stamps complainng that what they given its “not enough” .every little gum we buy we pay taxes .we dont complaint about that , we dont complain when we have to pay double the money for car insurance because we dont have driver license.we dont compaint cause we have to pay for 2 cars when we r only buying 1 just because we dont have ss# .we dont cry cause we have to pay taxes at the start of the year . when all the other people are getting up to 10.000 DLLS ON TAX CREDIT CAUSE THEIR LOW INCOME AND THEIR AMERICAN CITIZENS WITH 3,4 UP TO 5 KIDS JUST CAUSE THEY HAVE CREDIT FOR EACH OF THEIR KID, I DONT KNOW WHAT UR COMPLAINING ABOUT WE ARE GONNA PAY FOR ANY FORM TO FILL OUT TO BE LEGAL RESIDENT .WE DO OUR BEST ,OUR BEST WORK . THATS WHY WE ARE HERE CAUSE WE WANT TO BE BETTER THAN WHATEVER OUR CONTRY CAN GIVE US .JUST LIKE THE ONE YOULL CAME FROM .

    • avatar

      Call Me Heartless

      But any household in America that is HOGGING two jobs per household [the avg American household works about 1.2 jobs BTW] is stealing a scarce job from an unemployed single job family.

      Its that simple and its high priced real estate causing this HOGGING.

    • avatar

      I would like to ask the Illegal, why would they have the right to anything in our country? Many illegal immigrants are already getting the child tax credit, some for children they aren’t even raising. This is crazy, what is wrong with our government! My family, has been in this country since the American Revolution, we fought for this county. What have you done…broke into our country and taken our jobs. There is a border and you came through illegally, that is why there is a border. You already broke the law, but nobody seems to care. I would also like to ask you who pays for every, single child an illegal has born here in the U.S. Do you have insurance? We, the American tax payers pay every time you go to the hospital, which you do for everything. I pay $900 a month for health insurance, with a $10,000 deductible and get nothing paid for me for free. What give you the right to cut in front of everyone else waiting to get into the country legally?

    • avatar

      If I went to Mexico and cried and demanded everything you listed I would be shot.If the citizens of this Country don’t

      stand-up and stand together we will never know our County as we know it today. Call your congressman.

  5. avatar

    Everybody is liable for income taxes on income erned in the US, be he citizen, immigrant, or alien. Citizens are also liable for federal income tax on income earned outside the US as modified by treaty, unlike corporations. State sales tax is only paid by state residents, which is why when you buy something over the internet and the company is located in another state, the sales tax is waived. Foreign tourist can buy goods in the US, and be exempt from the sales tax.

  6. avatar

    You can not quantify the degree of burden U.S. citizens have endured for decades, due to our governments spinelessness and criminal neglect. This dereliction of duty and utter idiocy MUST END & NOW, or this government needs to be replaced!

  7. avatar

    I would like to know what taxes they’re talking about. Certainly income taxes are a red herring because everybody working in the US pays them: citizen, immigrant, illegal alien alike. But sales tax only applies to state residents – that’s why if you buy something over the internet and the seller is in another state, you get to waive the sales tax. I imagine it is the same for foreign tourists visiting the US for shopping. I believe they get the sales tax either waived or reimbursed.

    I’m confused about this so-called “line”. Isn’t the line composed of people outside of the US waiting to get in? if you are already inside the US, there is no line. You’re not waiting in line, you’re in.

    Help clarify and frame these concepts.

  8. avatar

    The Earned Income Tax Credit is going to be a big bonanza for these new ” citizens”. They are low income with lots of kids in general and that is exactly who is eligible. Five thousand dollars would not be uncommon.

    • avatar

      Good. If they are low income it will probably help a great deal with groceries, paying the rent and feeding their children. Many illegal immigrants do pay taxes and have been for years, however, unlike you and I they get to live with the fear of deportation, their car being taken from them, no option to get a valid drivers license, no access to an endless list of benefits that the taxes they have paid go to support.

      • avatar

        Eric – you must be on some serious drugs; drugs that coincidentaly that made their way over the border with the illegals. You need to look closer at what is really happening around you and not just listen to what this lying administration and the mainsteam press tell you. A number of states are providing driver’s licenses to illegals – like IL. They also get a number of benefits paid to them just because they made it here. The LA School District can’t keep up with the influx of illegals entering their school system. The gang violence/shootings in Chicago are due to drug cartel wars brought by the very large illegal population. If you want to donate more of your income (assuming you are working) then good for you but the current economic model we are on is UNSUSTAINABLE.

      • avatar

        Whenever I break the law I get punished. I recently spent 6 months in county jail for DUI, and I brought it all on myself. As did these illegals..They broke the law they should be scared of being deported. I spent time in jail why can’t they be deported for breaking the law???

      • avatar

        Those that I see are not walking around in “fear of deportation”, it’s just the opposite! They are illegal, they should not be here, get out of our country!