The Bush administration quietly worked behind the scenes on the Senate's "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" amnesty bill to remove a portion that would require illegal aliens to pay back taxes.
Just another sign that the Bush administration - and in particular Michael Chertoff - are working for the foreign illegal aliens and not the American people.
This whole proposal is not workable, not just the part about paying back taxes. This issue alone shows that they aren't able to tell anything at all about the illegal aliens here. What makes them think they'll be able to determine how long illegal aliens have lived here, whether they're a criminal or whether they contribute to America, which after all is the point of allowing immigrants in the first place, not just because we're nice people.
The Bush administration insisted on a little-noticed change in the bipartisan Senate immigration bill that would enable 12 million undocumented residents to avoid paying back taxes or associated fines to the Internal Revenue Service, officials said.
An independent analyst estimated the decision could cost the IRS tens of billions of dollars.
A provision requiring payment of back taxes had been in the initial version of a bill proposed by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat. But the administration called for the provision to be removed due to concern that it would be too difficult to figure out which illegal immigrants owed back taxes.
... Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, speaking in reference to illegal immigrants seeking legal status, said, "You've got to pay your taxes." He did not state whether he was referring to back taxes, future taxes, or both.
White House spokesman Scott Stanzel, asked in a telephone interview yesterday to clarify Chertoff's remark, said it referred only to future taxes.
"It is important that the reformed immigration system is workable and cost efficient," Stanzel said. "Determining the past tax liability would have been very difficult and costly and extremely time consuming."
Stanzel stressed that immigrants would be required to pay a fine of up to $5,000 if they want to apply for a green card to become a legal resident, although that fine is not for failure to pay taxes.
Laura Capps, a spokeswoman for Kennedy, said a provision for requiring back taxes was in Kennedy's original bill and that Chertoff called for it to be removed. "Chertoff thought it would be too challenging to accurately determine the amount of an applicant's back taxes," she said.
Administration officials said many illegal immigrants do not get paychecks that can be audited, making it difficult to determine tax liability.
But Pete Sepp, spokesman for the National Taxpayers Union, which says it has 362,000 members, was stunned that the provision was removed. While saying it would be difficult to come up with a precise estimate of the amount of back taxes owed by undocumented residents, he said it would be in the tens of billions of dollars, with a similar amount in fines for failure to pay the taxes.
"I can tell you, most law-abiding taxpayers would find that provision totally distasteful," Sepp said about the decision not to seek back taxes. "I doubt that many citizens are willing to swallow that special treatment."