Senate Bill Protects Employers of Illegal Aliens From Penalties

Charles Hurt, Washington Times, May 22, 2006

Among those who will be cleared of past crimes under the Senate’s proposed immigration-reform bill would be the businesses that have employed the estimated 10 million illegal aliens eligible for citizenship and that provided the very “magnet” that drew them here in the first place.

Buried in the more than 600 pages of legislation is a section titled “Employer Protections,” which states: “Employers of aliens applying for adjustment of status under this section shall not be subject to civil and criminal tax liability relating directly to the employment of such alien.”

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While most of the focus thus far has been on the “amnesty” granted to illegal aliens, opponents only now are discovering the broad range of crimes that will be forgiven under the legislation.

Lawyers for the Senate Judiciary Committee have scoured the bill and come up with a list of 31 crimes relating to illegal immigration that would be wiped clean.

Under current law, simply entering the country illegally can result in a six-month prison stay and a $250,000 fine. Aiding in that crime carries a similar fine and a five-year prison sentence. Once ordered deported, an illegal racks up $500 per day of continued “illegal presence.”

In addition, there are the perjury and false statements associated with fraudulently filling out federal tax forms. Each instance carries up to a five-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine. Then there is the wide array of crimes relating to forging false documents needed to obtain work. Punishments for those crimes range from civil fines to 25 years in prison.

Also, there are crimes relating to the misuse of Social Security numbers needed to obtain work. Those crimes can result in five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Businesses that have committed any alien-hiring crimes would be forgiven under the provisions of the bill, although the laws would remain on the books and, thus, future violations could be prosecuted.

In addition to absolving illegals for past misuse of Social Security numbers and documentation, the Senate last week voted to allow aliens to get Social Security benefits based on working in the United States illegally.

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