Monday, February 2, 2009

Greeley CO: Undocumented Immigrants, Pay your taxes and get deported

The numerous people I know that have recently regularized are telling me that as they process their residency applications they have to show they have paid their taxes over the years.  This is a very important part of the process and can trip up someone's regularization.

In Greeley Colorado, the D.A. is using this information to deport people.  The Sheriff's office in Greeley is actually listing on its web site the names of the people arrested and detained. 

What can they do when their tax returns are being used to deport them? Where is our compassionate president?  I realized he is otherwise occupied by our economic crisis, but intensified pressure on immigration is often considered a central part of an economic downturn.  It's part of the same problem.

New York Times
February 2, 2009
by Dan Frosch

...Oct. 17... investigators with the Weld County Sheriff’s Office, armed with a search warrant, seized thousands of confidential tax returns from Ms. Cerrillo’s business. They told her they were looking for people with fraudulent Social Security numbers, commonly used by illegal immigrants to get work.

The seizure of the tax returns was the first step in a broad, continuing investigation, called Operation Number Games by local law enforcement officials. Sheriff John Cooke said his investigators had identified about 1,300 illegal immigrants who had filed tax returns bearing fake or stolen Social Security numbers. Many will face deportation proceedings.

Since October, 40 people have been arrested on identity theft or criminal impersonation charges. Sixty-five additional arrest warrants have been issued, and District Attorney Ken Buck said many more would be coming.

“I don’t care whether they are meth addicts or petty thieves or illegal immigrants,” Mr. Buck said. “What matters most to me is that they are committing felonies through identify theft.”

The campaign is causing concern at the I.R.S., which says illegal immigrants paid almost $50 billion in taxes from 1996 to 2003, and among immigrants’ rights groups, which call the operation a thinly disguised attempt to root out illegal immigrants.

Late last Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado filed a lawsuit in State District Court here arguing that by seizing and retaining confidential tax information, the Weld County authorities had violated privacy rights of thousands of taxpayers...more

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