The version of the immigration bill proposed by the U.S. Senate could be derailed by an amendment pertaining to back taxes supposedly owed by undocumented immigrants. The amendment would require undocumented immigrants to pay back unpaid taxes that they allegedly owe before being granted a path to citizenship.
Such an amendment could affect as many as 11 million immigrants. It would force immigrant workers to attempt to calculate any back taxes that are claimed to be owed, and they would have to pay those taxes if a calculation demonstrated that income taxes had not been paid.
Authors of the bill call such a requirement "reasonable" as it claims a sufficient amount of revenue could then be collected by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Opponents feel that even calculating what is purportedly owed would be extremely difficult since many undocumented immigrants have been forced to work in an underground economy where accurate wage records were never kept.
Every instance of immigrants being here in California has its own unique circumstances. Attorneys that help represent immigrants can help these people tell their story to immigration officials and the courts.
It must be kept in mind that a large number of these immigrants came to the United States to support their families back home. As we've previously mentioned on this blog, immigrants are often exploited by their employers, forced to work at risky occupations for long hours with no benefits, and were often paid well below the minimum wage rates. The supervisors of these workers will likely not support the immigrants in their claims because the employers were often in violation of federal employment laws.
This appears to be an attempt by politicians to place one more obstacle in the way of citizenship for these immigrant workers. Many immigrants sought employment in the United States to begin with because they faced financial hardship. Now legislators want to make their circumstances even more difficult.
Source: The Boston Globe, "Back taxes a thorny issue in immigration bill," Julia Edwards, June 11, 2013