No disaster is so bad that politicians can’t find a way to benefit. That’s why liberal House and Senate members are on a crusade to make sure that illegal immigrants get their share of taxpayer-funded coronavirus federal relief benefits while small businesses fold and Americans lose their jobs.
The financial strain on state and federal budgets is just getting started and will become insurmountable as relief is doled out nonstop and business closures that cost jobs and tax revenue drag on from weeks to months. The Senate just agreed to toss another $310 billion in Paycheck Protection Program funds to Main Street. Pelosi’s House still stands in the way. Democrats forget whose money it is they are returning, but they have not forgotten illegal immigrants.
This is a time when every dollar counts. Big cities and states that refused to get their financial houses in order before the pandemic hit will not get through this without further punishing their now unemployed taxpayers and begging the Federal Government for more bailout funds. That hasn’t stopped two fiscal delinquents from making illegal immigrants a priority.
Illegal immigrants get their relief benefits in California and Chicago
Debt-ridden sanctuary state California recently announced $125 million in funding for the state’s illegal immigrants. Adults qualify for $500 and households for as much as $1,000. $75 million of the funds come from taxpayers’ pockets.1
Also very broke sanctuary city Chicago went so far as to grant illegal residents “all benefits” available to citizens including Housing Assistance Grants and “disaster relief cash” from the city’s $100 million Small Business Resiliency Fund.2
This is not free money, just free benefits. It comes from taxpayers who have Democrats managing their finances.
We can gauge how serious the revenue situation is by the absence of a flood of liberal cities and states following California and Chicago’s leads. That may change, but for the time being our biggest worry is irresponsible Washington, D.C. That’s where the big money is kept and some of the most ridiculous handouts originate.
Democrats bring illegal immigrants back to Capitol Hill
For most of 2020 Illegal immigrants have been on the congressional back burner. Democrats spent their time trying to oust the president instead until that effort went up in smoke and a very real problem took its place. In time they will no doubt try to remove him for his response to COVID-19 as well, but for now we’re in the thick of it and spending money on federal relief comes first.
Everyone in America except Congress is in a fight together. Liberal congressional lawmakers are engaged in their own politically-motivated battle to leverage the most PR benefit possible from coronavirus relief. That Ms. Pelosi holding up aid to businesses and a divisive push for relief for illegal immigrants who, like American citizens, will suffer mightily from our pandemic economy.
The difference is that citizens have a right to their share of federal relief. Illegal immigrants should not have a right to anything, but that’s now how things work.
From Washington’s perspective this is just another partisan conflict over who gets what and how much. Granting benefits to illegals when money is scarce and too many American citizens are barely hanging on is part of the game.
Democrats were furious when the Supreme Court approved the public charge rule meant to protect taxpayers from immigrants who arrive with their hands out and no means of support. They blasted the “morally bankrupt” 3 and “blatantly dangerous to public health”4 policy because of COVID-19, though the words would be the same even without the virus.
Democratic Party support for illegal immigration repeatedly backs taxpayers into a corner with no way out while we have to listen to blatantly opportunistic statements like this:
It’s unconscionable the Trump administration is implementing the public charge rule at a time when individuals need vital medical assistance most,” Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján said. “No one should have to choose between their safety and their immigration status, ever.5
No taxpayer should have to choose between supporting American citizens and their businesses and a Democratic Party sacred cow that needs free health care, either.
Agricultural amnesty? H.R 5038 returns.
Under a banner asking Congress to “Help Protect Farmworkers During COVID-19 Crisis” and a threat about our food security 6 the Congressional Hispanic Caucus resurrected the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. The bill was introduced by California Rep. Zoe Lofgren in November 2019. Surprisingly, 25 Republicans were on the original list of 62 cosponsors.
The CHC asks the House and Senate leadership to approve H.R. 5038’s childcare, “legal protections from deportation,”7 and:
Direct financial assistance to agricultural employers to: provide farmworkers with job security, pandemic premium pay (in line with pay for other frontline workers in our country’s critical infrastructure), sick pay, and family leave; and disseminate and implement CDC recommendations on sanitation and social distancing in work sites, employer provided housing and transportation. 8
These are benefits a lot of American workers do not get from their jobs, or at least they didn’t get them while they were still working.
There is another hidden liberal gem inside this bill. H.R. 5038 establishes a Certified Agricultural Worker immigration category that establishes a path to citizenship and makes illegal immigrants immune to removal under the conditions that they:
(1) performed at least 1,035 hours of agricultural labor during the two-year period prior to November 12, 2019, (2) on that date was inadmissible, deportable, or under a grant of deferred enforced departure or temporary protected status, and (3) has been continuously present in the United States from that date until receiving CAW status.9
When this bill was first proposed the Heritage Foundation observed that this was just another amnesty act. Sadly, Democratic CHC members decided to revive it while Americans hear threats about possible shortages in our food supply. In an April 16, 2020 letter to Speaker Pelosi a demand from Democratic House members made it clear what reviving this bill is really about:
Until the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R.5038) can become law, provide our essential agricultural workforce with legal protections from deportation.10
What does COVID-19 have to do with deportation? Nothing, but it’s the excuse for everything Democrats want for as long as they can extend this disaster.
House members back taxpayer support for illegal immigrants
Illegal immigrants hide at the end of an overwhelming list of spending items proposed by extreme socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY):
The Congresswoman believes strongly that Congress must do more for working families. She is pushing for a fourth relief package that includes full paid sick leave; a mortgage and rent moratorium; a debt moratorium; additional support for New York state’s emergency response; free health care for those infected by the virus; and real relief for all immigrant families.11
That “real relief” for immigrants includes direct cash assistance to ITIN holders, paid sick and family leave, health care without the ability to pay, WIC, and free legal aid.12
More relief was proposed with H.R. 6437, the Coronavirus Immigrant Families Protection Act introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) on April 6, 2020. 53 Democrats signed on to provide necessary COVID-19 testing and treatment. We don’t have a lot of choice with that provision, but proponents also used this federal disaster to justify “other relief services.”
That hazy phrase hands federal relief checks to illegals with ITINs and provides Medicaid health care benefits regardless of immigration status. Most important, the bill will halt anything that might discourage immigrants from accessing health care such as:
immigration enforcement actions at or in transit to/from sensitive locations, such as hospitals, courthouses, domestic violence shelters, and other sensitive locations.13
Courthouses are for immigration cases, not COVID-19 treatment. The only thing sensitive about them is that they are a necessary step in deportation. Democrats are extremely sensitive about that.
Is there anything else? That depends on how you go about getting your federal relief and how much you want.
ITIN numbers don’t make you a taxpaying citizen
Trillions in federal relief funds are so overwhelming in scope that it is easy to ignore the money that slips through our fingers. Individual taxpayer identification (ITIN) numbers beg the Federal Government to lose relief funding to fraud.
To justify H.R. 6437’s relief checks to illegals with ITINs bill sponsor Judy Chu (D-CA) offered a five-year old figure of $13.7 billion in taxes collected from 4.35 million people that she sourced from the American Immigration Council, an immigration advocacy group.
The many billions don’t really matter because these individuals should not be working. Breaking the law while holding your hand out is something only a Democrat could endorse.
With unemployment booming all over the country not a single job should be lost to workers with no legal right to live or work in the U.S., but Democrats will fight tooth and nail to make sure illegals keep coming. They pressed for more benefits for the undocumented with the Leave No Taxpayer Behind Act because illegal immigrants were not included in the relief funded by the CAREs bill. Their demands include that we:
correct an egregious error in the $2 trillion CAREs Act that disqualified ITIN taxpayers from receiving federal cash assistance. The Leave No Taxpayer Behind Act amends the CAREs Act to ensure that all taxpayers are eligible for their $1,200 relief check.14
ITINs make sure no fraudster is left behind
Like tax refund fraud with phony Social Security Numbers, ITIN fraud is rampant. In a January 29, 2018 report the Inspector General for Tax Administration reported:
The TIGTA estimates that the IRS erroneously issued 8,116 ITINs because tax examiners did not always ensure that required supporting documentation was provided with applications.15
Because of limitation in these [Real-Time consistency and validity] checks, the IRS may have issued 151,384 potentially erroneous or fraudulent ITINs.16
One immigrant, $4.6 million fraud
One person can benefit more than you would think from owning more than one ITIN number. Convicted, imprisoned, and deported Amalia Gamboa did exactly that:
From November 2010 through March 2017, Gamboa received at least $4,681,690.42 in U.S. Treasury refund checks from her scheme.17
She also fraudulently claimed Additional Child Tax Credit benefits. To put this crime in perspective, the size of the fraud perpetrated by this one individual is over three times the amount of money California set aside to help its illegal immigrants.
Nevertheless, Congressman Jimmy Panetta calls not issuing checks to illegals with ITINs a “glitch.”18 Congressman Raul Grijalva argues:
Our relief programs shouldn’t discriminate against those who need help during this crisis, and this legislation ensures that immigrants with ITINs can get the economic relief they deserve.19
Deserve? If we took care of our illegal immigrant problem we wouldn’t have to worry about ITIN fraud, but instead of dealing with the issue Democrats in Congress prefer to lose billions:
The IRS’s failure to remedy this vulnerability on its own accord not only continues to cost taxpayers billions of dollars every year, but also provides an incentive for illegal immigration into the country.20
This is why the IRS has instructions on its website for “What To Do When Someone Fraudulently Claims Your Dependent.”
Operation Stolen Promise: ICE, USCIS save taxpayers
When all of our efforts should be dedicated to fighting this pandemic and getting America’s economy back in shape federal agencies still have to cope with the consequences of the Democratic Party’s refusal to work with the GOP and President Trump to tighten immigration security.
Where there is money there is fraud. Last week ICE announced Operation Stolen Promise to attack:
criminal acts of fraud related to the COVID-19 pandemic.21
USCIS just opened a new online portal as part of its Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate so the public can report immigration benefit fraud. With trillions handed out nationwide in conjunction with the Democratic Party’s efforts to inform illegal immigrants that they deserve a share of the relief rolls we will have to devote even more resources to stopping fraud. We don’t have a choice any more than we have a say in how our tax money is used to empower abusive Democratic Party priorities.
UPDATE April 23, 2020: Omar, Squad bill cancels rent and mortgage payments for illegal immigrants
If you want a little more socialism with your pandemic you can have it courtesy of the Squad.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) introduced the “Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act:”
to institute a nationwide cancellation of rents and home mortgage payments through the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.22
Predictable cosponsors include Squad colleagues Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) joined by an assortment of prominent liberal extremists like Oregon’s Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Wisconsin’s Mark Pocan.
Landlords, banks, and everyone else connected to rent and mortgage payments are thrown into the same federal bailout bucket. When money grows on trees anything is possible and there is no limit to the federal relief taxpayers can fund.
Like other sneaky Democratic bailout schemes, illegal immigrants are tucked into Omar’s bill with exclusions for immigration status.23
Why do Democrats even bother mentioning immigration in their bills? From now on let’s just assume that anything coming from the party includes illegal immigrants under the catchall “American people.”
UPDATE April 26, 2020: Republicans criticized for not paying relief to illegal workers
After Nancy Pelosi finally submitted to lending a helping hand to small businesses last Thursday, Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-CA) turned on Republicans for not adding relief for illegal immigrants to the new taxpayer funded, taxpayer bailout bill. She called the refusal “shameful and unacceptable:”24
While there are good things in the bill, many important Democratic values were not included. Unfortunately, all taxpaying people are not treated equally. Instead, Republicans prevailed in excluding undocumented taxpaying workers from receiving assistance, despite many of these workers being responsible for producing our food and stocking our grocery stores during this pandemic. Many mixed-status families were also excluded because one person may lack a Social Security number.25
Luckily, the Democrats-only Coronavirus Immigrant Families Protection Act that seeks to correct this fortunate refusal has gone nowhere. Democrats continue to cheer that proposal for:
Prohibiting discrimination in any program funded by a coronavirus relief bill based on actual or perceived immigration status.26
Rep. Barragan and Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva cosponsor that legislation. Grijalva insists:
We must also remain accountable to the American people and serve as good stewards of taxpayer funds.27
As part of that accountability he adds:
We must end discriminatory provisions that prevent immigrants, DACA recipients, and TPS holders from accessing CARES Act relief.28
That’s not the first nor the last time we’ll hear that refusing to provide federal benefits to illegal immigrants is discrimination. There are all sorts of ways to twist the argument for relief to make it more acceptable to Americans who will pay the bill so Democrats can take the credit.
Justice Department gives taxpayers real accountability
While Democrats push to reward illegal immigrants the Justice Department continues to prosecute identity theft.
The day before Rep. Grijalva issued his press release the DOJ reported another example of an illegal immigrant working and paying taxes with a stolen identity and Social Security number:
At the guilty plea, Ramos-Lopez admitted he used a fraudulent Social Security card when he completed employment and tax forms using someone else’s name and Social Security Number in January 2019 at a business in Tama, Iowa. When arrested at his place of employment in January 2020, Ramos-Lopez initially used the alias name with immigration agents and falsely claimed to be a United States citizen.31
Now we also have to pay to keep this individual locked up in a federal prison, as we do a Dominican man who was sentenced on April 3, 2020. Ironically, this was the same day Rep. Judy Chu introduced the Coronavirus Immigrant Families Protection Act:
Jairo Samuel Andujar Ruiz, 27, formerly of Lawrence, pleaded guilty to one count of false representation of a Social Security number. After accepting Andujar Ruiz’s guilty plea, U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani sentenced him to time served, approximately 7 ½ months, to be followed by one year of supervised release.32
We have to pay for his prison time, too.
So here’s the question: if Democrats get their way and we pay out federal relief to illegal immigrants who are working and paying taxes, how do we know which ones are using identities stolen from Americans and legal immigrants?
Here’s the answer: we won’t know and Democrats don’t care.
UPDATE May 13, 2020: ITIN filers get their cash in HEROES Act despite GAO warnings
I wouldn’t call an illegal immigrant a hero. Lucky, possibly, or maybe fortunate. Lumping illegals in with doctors, nurses, and first responders is a very undeserved pat on the back for breaking the law. It’s also an accolade from Democrats who added them to their monstrous HEROES Act in a move that’s a lot less about stimulus and more about placating a liberal base that wasn’t happy illegals were left out of the first round of relief payouts.
The 1,815 page House juggernaut tucked the provisions for payouts to illegal immigrants on page 151:
The $1,200 amount in subsection (a)(1) shall be treated as being zero unless the taxpayer includes the TIN of the taxpayer on the return of tax for the taxable year.31
For the $2,400 joint payments:
$1,200 if the TIN of only one spouse is so included.32
Dependents? All they need is a TIN.33
GAO: scope of employment-related fraud is unknown
Coincidentally, while the undocumented found their place in this new taxpayer bailout legislation the Government Accountability Office released a report about the risks of employment-related identity fraud that warned:
The true scope of employment-related identity theft is unknown.34
What the agency did find was “2.9 million SSNs that had risk characteristics associated with SSN misuse …”35 Those questionable records included people who were dead, had wages for three or more employers, and were under 14 or over 84 years of age.36
That’s before we even get to the Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers rewarded in the newest stimulus bill. That opens an entirely new set of risks including records with IRS Action Code 525:
IRS applies the code to a taxpayer’s account when IRS processes a return filed by an individual with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), and the return includes a W-2 with an SSN that does not belong to the person identified on the ITIN return. IRS refers to this situation as an ITIN/SSN mismatch. In 2018, IRS marked 818,097 accounts with Action Code 525.37
That’s only one type of fraud. According to the GAO, the IRS confirmed:
they do not systematically track these situations for several reasons.38
If these provisions for payments to illegal immigrants ever pass one of these reasons will be the demand for the IRS to take on an even larger burden to pay out checks and direct deposits as quickly as possible to Americans who may not yet have their first stimulus payment. When we’re looking at spending as much as three trillion dollars, even a few billion in fraud is pocket change. That’s an acceptable risk for Democrats, who fully intend to use your tax dollars to make themselves the heroes of this pandemic even if they have to pay off illegal workers to do it.