Comments: Otequay of the Ayday

It is appreciated.

Posted by jk at June 13, 2014 11:07 AM

...obey the law, pay taxes...

I may be mistaken, but are these not mutually exclusive items? Is it possible to pay income taxes without either a SSN or some form of documentation allowing you to work here as a foreigner?

Yes, absolutely, illegal immigrants should be able to avail themselves of temporary visas or work permits. They should feel free to apply for them immediately at a US consulate in their home country and get in line behind the people who didn't come here before doing so.

Posted by AndyN at June 13, 2014 4:41 PM

Millions pay withholding on fake SSNs for which they can never get refunds or claim any benefits. This is something of a windfall to the treasury which is never computed in opponents' balance sheets. They also pay sales taxes, property taxes through rent, and any local fees. Not to say that zero are not using services for which they do not pay, but the balance is at the very least a lot more nuanced.

The line sounds great, Andy -- the orderly queue is the centerpiece of civilization and order. But in the case of immigration, it is an absolute fantasy. There is no line -- there are some with connections who hope to emigrate and there are a few with family already here that can hope for some unification.

But those who just want to live here, whether a newly minted PhD in Engineering from Stanford or a good worker who would like a shot at the better life -- which my immigrant have friends have received -- have no hope. One can fill out a form, but there is no line, there is no wait list where a name will come up someday. There's an H1-B system that fills its annual quota in a couple days.

These people could be starting exciting new business, providing the labor for others to start or grow one -- or just be legal taxpayers and customers. It strikes me as a pretty good deal.

Posted by jk at June 13, 2014 5:47 PM

1.2 million pay witholding on ITIN's, which probably do allow refunds and benefits.

Posted by johngalt at June 13, 2014 10:57 PM

JK - I'm aware that a lot of criminals, both foreign and domestic, use fake SSNs. I also don't deny that taxes automatically withheld from them may be a net financial gain for the government. However, if part of Kudlow's criteria are that foreigners who entered the country illegally deserve legal status because they pay taxes and obey all our other laws besides the ones they broke entering the country, acknowledging that a lot of them pay taxes by falsifying government documents isn't much of an argument against my original point. People who aren't legally allowed to be in the country can't both obey the law and pay taxes unless they're entirely dependent on someone else for their upkeep.

As for there being no line for immigrants wanting to come here legally - that H1B quota is a line. Is the permitted length of that line too short? Perhaps. I'm more than willing to entertain the possibility that we should be encouraging more legal immigration. That doesn't change my opinion that the criminals who are here now shouldn't be given priority treatment over people who've been waiting to come here legally all along. Those people also could be starting new businesses, providing labor for others to do so, or just be legal taxpayers and customers. And I'm inclined to believe they'll be less likely to violate our other laws than people who have a history of doing so.

Posted by AndyN at June 14, 2014 8:53 PM

Any body else had their tax return held up?

isn't helping....

Posted by nanobrewer at June 15, 2014 1:38 AM

Andy is right.
Increase the amount of visa's available.

That is not only the short term, but the long term solution to this problem.
I don't get why it isn't the 1st thing on the agenda. Perhaps equal to confirming we're going to work on being serious about a border or stop any talk of amnesty which just invites illegal activity.

Posted by Terri at June 15, 2014 10:01 AM

Clearly, my work here is not done. <wink />

I know I go on about immigration, but after Facebook threads it is enriching to discuss with people guided by reason and appreciative of liberty.

The H1-B has elements of a line but no continuity. If there are 300 this year and I am number 301, that gives me no leg up next year; the line forms anew. That is a multi-winner lottery and not a line.

But I accept, to Terri's point and Andy's, that it could be expanded to create a line. I am all for that. But it will not happen.

There are those who oppose any increase in immigration for a variety of reasons. Some see zero-sum economics and believe every immigrant taking a job leaves one fewer job for US citizens (cf., South Park). Unions see a shift away from Union labor. Some have baser motives.

Even with a plurality remaining, neither would legislators on either side "give this away." This most popular chip is held hostage by the right to enact more security and on the left to get a path to citizenship. You can't give the abolitionists Missouri and then discuss Kansas.

If the H1B is fixed, we still have all the same messes. More Doctors around to treat everybody, which is nice, but there is a demand for low wage labor and a supply of it separated by a very narrow river. On that front, I most definitely hold my position that this "line" we keep hearing of is a fiction. There is zero legal path for a Mexican or Central American who would like to come here, work hard, pay his taxes, and establish a better life.

I am a law and order guy. It gets me kicked out of a lot of Libertarian events -- even the ones with a cash bar. If there were a legal path, I'd happily get tough on those who chose not to use it. As there is none, I'm sympathetic to those who make my life better and theirs, at great cost and jeopardy to themselves.

Posted by jk at June 15, 2014 11:17 AM
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