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From: Daniel Yurushalmi [e-mail him]
Re: Juan Mann's Column: Deporting Aliens 2006
I am writing in hope that you make known widely a fact about immigration that is virtually unknown to the general public: About almost all foreigners who are living and working illegally in this country, our government knows their name, address, workplace, and income, as well as the names of their dependents.
How? Employers withhold income tax and FICA contributions from these workers' wages and send the amounts withheld to the IRS (and to the Franchise Tax Board in California; the IRS and most, if not all, state tax agencies share most information about taxpayers.)
In turn, most of these workers dutifully file tax returns annually. As a result, the federal government, between what employers report about their workers and what workers report about themselves, has all the information it needs to arrest and deport the workers and to prosecute their employers.
How do I know all this? I was a tax technician with the California Franchise Tax Board from 1995 to 1999.
I happen am fluent in Spanish so I was assigned to take calls from and assist non-English-speaking "taxpayers" who, usually after receiving a wage garnishment for payment of unpaid taxes, were seeking an installment agreement or modification of the garnishment.
Some had not even filed tax returns. All were obviously foreigners with scant knowledge of U.S. tax law.
But how, you may ask, did I know such workers were living and working illegally in this country?
For one thing, I would ask them and they would generally admit the truth.
But more powerfully, my routine was to first ask a caller for his social security number. I would type the number into my computer and up would come many, many names, sometimes hundreds, almost all of them Spanish, the natural product of issuing the same, usually legitimate, social security number to a horde of people via forged identity documents.
The Franchise Tax Board would, upon receipt of tax withheld by the employer, automatically issue a dummy tax identification number to the worker who was using someone else's social security number.
As a tax technician, it was often difficult, but always possible, to match a tax record to the caller.
No doubt the IRS and its sister state tax agencies would claim that using tax information to enforce immigration laws (by passing taxpayer identification information to the Department of Homeland Security, for example) is illegal.
Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service, with its thousands of employees, continues to sit on the very information that would facilitate the enforcement of our immigration laws, while the rest of our government says it doesn't know who the workers are, where they are, where they work, how much they earn, etc.
These are false statements. Our government knows everything but no one shares information least of all the IRS and Social Security Administration.
Instead, they piously claim that immigration enforcement isn't their job while the dollars continue to flow in under phony social security numbers.
Yurushalmi is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Pacific with undergraduate degrees in classical languages and accounting. He is also a graduate of the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.
A career public servant, Yurushalmi spent 11 years with the Department of the Navy, the Department of the Air Force, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Agriculture and the Social Security Administration. During the past ten years he has worked for the State of California.
Yurushalmi served in the Coast Guard Reserve for seventeen years. For the past two and a half years, he was mobilized as a chief warrant officer (finance and supply specialty) in expeditionary warfare units in the global war on terror and was discharged honorably from active duty in April 2005.
He served, among other places, in the harbor defense unit at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.