Logically speaking you’d think that at least one benefit of illegal immigration over legal immigration is that since the former are undocumented, they at least can’t claim government benefits. The late libertarian economist Milton Friedman even argued as much – that illegal immigration was preferable for that reason.
We of course know that not to be the case however. The children of illegal immigrants will automatically become U.S. citizens, and thus will eventually draw resources from the public education system, and other things.
And there’s of course other possibilities: illegals could apply for benefits using falsified information. As Forbes reports, we should never underestimate the incompetence of the government:
We have the top dog at the IRS, the IRS Commissioner himself, admitting that, well, there’s a problem with illegal immigrants and taxes.
He was talking about illegal immigrants, and about the IRS turning a blind eye. Or maybe worse. The IRS actually wants illegal immigrants to illegally use Social Security numbers, he suggested. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen made the surprising statement in response to a question from Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., at a Senate Finance Committee meeting. The question was a touchy one. Gee, is the IRS collaborating with taxpayers who file tax returns using fraudulent information? It wasn’t put exactly that way. According to Senator Coats:
“What we learned is that … the IRS continues to process tax returns with false W-2 information and issue refunds as if they were routine tax returns, and say that’s not really our job. We also learned the IRS ignores notifications from the Social Security Administration that a name does not match a Social Security number, and you use your own system to determine whether a number is valid.”
So what’s the cost of all this?
The IRS chief tried to distinguish between the various bad uses and misuses of someone else’s personal data. It is at least vaguely reminiscent of the flap a year ago that differentiated President Obama and Donald Trump over immigration and taxes. Mr. Trump said illegal immigrants get $4.2 billion in tax credits. A 2011 audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration confirmed that individuals who are not authorized to work in the United States were paid $4.2 billion in refundable credits.
The obvious problem here? As Forbes concludes, “Of course, undocumented immigrants cannot legitimately get Social Security numbers, but it seems the IRS doesn’t care.”
[Note: This post was authored by The Analytical Economist]