Make The Road New Jersey is at it again. This is a group that pushes for rights for people who are illegally in our country. Thursday night they held an online meeting. During this, Deyanira Aldana made a passionate plea for unauthorized immigrants to receive stimulus checks that they have not been able to get during the pandemic. But not just any unauthorized immigrant, although that certainly would please her. She was referring to those who pay taxes through an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number). In the mid-90s this system became available for illegals who had no Social Svecurity number.

Illegals have been excluded from receiving federal stimulus checks, and rightfully so. Since May there has been legislation for this taxpaying group of undocumented immigrants to receive $1,000 in cash assistance from the state Department of Treasury. I understand Aldana attempts a compelling argument; that this group is paying into a system yet getting nothing in return. It sounds good. But it's still wrong.

The fact is, going back to the very root of things, they are in violation of immigration laws. In my opinion, you shouldn't be allowed to, in essence, bribe your way out of that violation by paying into a system that you have no business being in to begin with.

If you choose to pay state and federal taxes through an ITIN, and many do not, fine. You can tell yourself you're just as much of a citizen and deserve all rights thereof. But you're not.

Frankly, allowing unauthorized immigrants to pay taxes this way has been wrong all along because it has sent a mixed message. You shouldn't be here. But if you're going to be here and want to pay taxes, then here you go? No. This has only served to cloud an issue that ought to be cut-and-dried. You don't get to violate our immigration laws.

Yet, they do get to. Every time we do things like allow them in-state tuition at state universities, allow undocumented immigrants financial aid for college, let unauthorized immigrants have a driver license, etc. We just keep clouding the original issue and we also make it less and less attractive to get on the right side of the law and seek actual citizenship.

People like Deyanira Aldana like to play the numbers game. They like to point out that there are over 400,000 unauthorized immigrants living in New Jersey. That over a quarter of a million U.S. citizens living in New Jersey reside with someone who is here illegally. That our state has the fourth highest percentage of undocumented workers.

Because this many people are breaking our immigration laws does not mean it is OK to break the immigration laws. It shouldn't be a popularity contest. It's either right or it's wrong.

And it's wrong.

And if you are in this country illegally and you want to pay taxes into a system whose laws you are violating, I don't particularly care and am not swayed to bestow you the same privileges as citizens. Consider your taxes a small penance for your being allowed to get away with your lawlessness for however many years, but don't look for a government check.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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