Does 1986 Mean Anything to the Gang Of 8?

As the old saying goes, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”


In 1986, acting on the recommendation of a bipartisan task force, President Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act. With good intentions, the law originally granted amnesty for those who paid a fine, took a citizenship test, learned English, and avoided criminal convictions. However, the Reagan Administration quickly learned that forged documents led to application numbers which far exceeded projections, and illegal immigration quickly returned to high levels. Now, 27 years later, it appears that the Senate’s “Gang of 8” is determined to repeat history.

One of the biggest shams of the Gang of 8’s bill is the claim that before amnesty is granted, back taxes must be paid. Interestingly, before the bill was printed, the term “back taxes” was removed from it, and does not address federal payroll taxes or state taxes. Instead the bill requires illegal immigrants to pay only for taxes the IRS already has assessed they owe at the time they apply for Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status. Therefore, for those filing taxes with the federal government under false Social Security numbers or working off the books, the IRS would report no taxes are due. The bill doesn’t even require applicants to submit tax-specific information such as wages earned or employment history. As Gang of 8-member Arizona Senator Jeff Flake told Politico, “We’ll leave [the back-taxes question] up to the IRS to figure how we do it.” Is that statement supposed to be comforting to conservatives?


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