Column: Whatever floats your boat

By Chris Kozak

Today is April 13 – and procrastinators beware – because income taxes must be postmarked in two days. Of course, not everybody is rushing to get his or her taxes done – like those who prepared their taxes weeks ago, those who had their parents do their taxes for them (thanks, Dad), and hordes of illegal immigrants.

Let me first say that I am all for the American Dream and the search for a new start and a better life in this country. However, I believe it needs to be accomplished in a legal manner. It’s not fair to the citizens and legal residents of this nation when we have to fork over our hard-earned cash to Uncle Sam and many illegals don’t.

It’s true that countless illegal immigrants work their butts off day in and day out – sometimes at multiple jobs nobody else wants – just to make ends meet for themselves and their families. I applaud this tremendous effort and it puts to shame the deadbeat citizens of our country whose lives consist of nothing other than sucking the teat of the welfare system. But that’s another issue for another time.

While I respect a number of these hardy, illegal souls, I’m more concerned with the safety of our nation and those who legally live within it. National security is a major issue, and we need to know who’s coming in and who’s going out. Terrorism is always a threat, and it’s already bad enough to have Allen Hall hosting terrorists and parading them around like heroes (Who’s next? Osama bin Laden? I’m sure he’s probably getting sick of rotting away in that cave. A nice, warm bed would probably do him well though.) Additionally, U.S. citizens are being adversely affected by illegal immigrants in other ways, like identity theft.

In Sunday’s Chicago Sun-Times, columnist Mark Brown wrote about an incident where an illegal immigrant named Teresa Figueroa purchased a fake social security card in order to work under a false identity – something other illegals at her place of employment, Micron Corp., did as well. The person whose identity was being used became suspicious when she was audited by the IRS for “failure” to pay nearly $3,600 in back taxes. After police involvement, Figueroa now faces an April 29 court date for possible deportation back to Mexico.

Yet, Brown tries to guilt us into feeling sorry for Figueroa – mentioning how she teaches a catechism class for teenagers, came to America to be with her husband and helped to sneak her four children across the Texas border at El Paso. Two of her children are honor students, one is married, and one attends junior college.

That’s great, but I don’t care. Does Teresa seem like a nice, good-natured person? Yes, but the same has been said of some of the 9/11 hijackers, too. This is a woman who stole an innocent person’s identity and whose only defense is claiming her supervisor said having a false identity wouldn’t be a problem – a charge the company vehemently denies.

I suppose this could be one way to catch illegal aliens, but we can all agree it’s not very efficient. What’s also perplexing is that the IRS has a special system set up which allows illegal immigrants to pay taxes. Why would a government agency set up a program assisting illegal immigration when other agencies are fighting it? Also, many illegal immigrants are poor enough as it is, and they can’t afford to cough up the cash anyway. Plus, they might also believe they risk capture by authorities if they file taxes.

It’s difficult for me to feel compassion for illegal immigrants. Sure, plenty of them provide examples of great work ethic and the desire to succeed, but the fact remains that they’re here illegally, and there are plenty who evade and exploit the system while the rest of us pay our dues (and our taxes). For those who have taken the steps to be here legally, welcome aboard. For those who haven’t and won’t, it’s time to go back to where you came from.