Recent comments by Newt Gingrich to the effect that illegal immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for 25 years, remedy “obey the rules, have children and belong to a church” should be allowed to remain here are deliberately deceptive. His premise is that an illegal immigrant can somehow live and work in this country for a long period without breaking any laws. He should know better and probably does.
Gingrich voted for the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) in 1986 which requires employers and employees to sign a verification form at the time of hire indicating the employee is authorized for employment. Only U.S. citizens and certain classes of legal aliens are authorized for employment. The I-9 form, which must be used for each employee, requires the employee to produce two types of documents and swear under the penalty of perjury that the documents are authentic and relate to him or her. 8 U.S.C. sec. 1324a. The documents most commonly used are a social security card, to establish employment authorization, and a document with a photo, usually a drivers’ license, to establish the employee’s identity.
IRCA made the use of a document pertaining to someone else or a forged document on an I-9 form a felony. 18 U.S.C. sec. 1546. So someone who has entered the U.S. illegally cannot be authorized for employment. Perhaps if such a person were independently wealthy and had never been employed, it might be in our national interest to give that person amnesty and allow him or her to remain here for life. But how many illegal immigrants are independently wealthy and have never held a job? After all, IRCA makes it clear that employment opportunities are the magnet that draws the illegal immigrants here in the first place.
So a long-term illegal immigrant is likely to be a serial felon, a person who has used false social security cards to get employment many times and coupled the document fraud with perjury by signing the form, i.e., swearing to the authenticity of the documents, under oath. In a jurisdiction that really enforced IRCA, such people would be in federal prison. As one federal court aptly put it, “Illegal aliens are not ‘law-abiding citizens’ or members of the political community, and aliens who remain in this country illegally and without authorization are not Americans as that words is commonly understood.” United States v. Portillo-Munoz, _ F.3d _ (5th Cir. 2011).
Even apart from employment, it is very difficult to “play by the rules” in this country without a social security number. They are required on all tax returns. (Legally admitted aliens are given social security numbers.) So it is also quite likely that our long-term illegal immigrants are not filing tax returns, which is another felony. In short, it is not possible for illegal immigrants to live in this country without systematic, serial law breaking of a serious nature.
For a former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives not to know this (or President Obama, for that matter, who makes the same absurd comments about illegal immigrants “playing by the rules”), is unforgivable. More likely he knows these people are serial felons and is simply pandering for the approval of the editorial pages of the New York Times and other mainstream media.
At the very least, we should demand that any illegal immigrant seeking amnesty make a full confession of all their crimes, as with any plea bargain. They should be required to list every employer who hired them so that those employers can be investigated for IRCA violations, identify every person who provided them with false social security cards so those felons can be apprehended, and pay their back taxes with the same penalties and interest that would apply to an American citizen who failed to file returns for years. And I predict that if this deal were offered to the long-term illegals, they would rather self-deport than “play by the rules.”