Allahpundit already covered some of the lowlights from the big Obama presser yesterday, but there was plenty of political goodness to go around. Over at The Corner, Mark Krikorian took note of the last, really tough question which the President fielded before heading out to the Vinyards. It will come as no surprise that the hardball inquisition came from NPR, in a moment described by Iowahawk as, “Am I massaging your feet too vigorously, Your Majesty?”
The last question for the president at today’s press conference was on immigration. It wasn’t a challenging question, like “What do you say to skeptics of the Senate immigration bill who fear that the initial legalization won’t be followed up by enforcement?” or “What’s the rationale for doubling legal immigration when millions of Americans are out of work?” Instead, NPR’s White House correspondent lobbed a softball, ending with “What other political leverage can you bring to bear to help move a bill in the House?”
The author notes Obama’s somewhat puzzling answer about how such changes will lead to our economy being “a trillion dollars stronger.” Part of that, presumably, will be a result of currently “undocumented workers” paying back all of those taxes they should have been paying since arriving. But will they really have to under the current legislation? I was unaware of this particular wrinkle, but Krikorian points us to an article at Forbes from June by Kelly Phillips Erg which explains in painful detail why the bill is self-defeating in terms of ever seeing those tax dollars dropping into the government’s coffers.
Section 2101, Registered Provisional Immigrant Status. That’s the section that outlines the so-called “pathway to citizenship” for immigrants. I, of course, went straight to the tax provisions and was surprised to find that, despite the debate, the Senate appeared to punt on taxes. The section amends Chapter 5 of title II (8 U.S.C. 1255 et seq.) by inserting a new section 245B. At subparagraph (b) of that section, you’ll find the eligibility requirements and at subparagraph (c), you’ll find the application requirements. That’s where the good stuff – the tax piece – is at. It says:
An alien may not file an application for registered provisional immigrant status under paragraph (1) unless the applicant has satisfied any applicable Federal tax liability.
Sounds great, eh? But as the Forbes article notes (and it will be worth your time to wade through the legal jargon there, translated into human speak) the provision to “satisfy any applicable Federal tax liability” winds up meaning effectively nothing. The requirement can be cleared by a simple declaration filed by the person seeking qualified status. In order to catch up the “theoretical” dreamer who might be tempted to lie about their previous income, it will require the crack skills of the IRS to prove that there is an outstanding liability. And that must be proven regarding someone who, in nearly all cases, has never filed any tax documents. (To quote the author again, they’re not called “undocumented workers” for nothing.)
This portion of the proposed, comprehensive immigration reform is a sham, and that money is simply not going to show up. But nobody found it worthwhile to ask the President about it yesterday. More’s the pity.